Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Thanksgiving proclamation quiz

Who issued this one?

Two hundred years ago the frontier colonies of America braced for a long and determined conflict with the strongest military power in the world. The petition of our Founding Fathers for redress of their grievances had been rejected by King and Parliament, and the people of America began the struggle from which emerged this great Nation.

Our Nation is the oldest continuously surviving republic in the world. For 200 years our freedoms have been questioned, challenged, tested and reinforced. These freedoms have shaped our destiny and served as a beacon to other peoples. Our Nation draws its strength from people of every creed, of every color, of every race - native Americans and people from every nation in the world who for two centuries have come to share in the rewards and responsibilities of our American Republic.

On the eve of our 200th year, Thanksgiving Day should be a day of special reflection upon the qualities of heart, mind and character of the men and women who founded and built our great Nation. Let us join in giving thanks for our cultural pluralism. Let us celebrate our diversity and the great strengths that have come from sharing our traditions, our ideas, our resources, our hopes and our dreams. Let us be grateful that for 200 years our people have been dedicated to fulfilling the democratic ideal - dedicated to securing "liberty and justice for all."


Let each of us, in his own way, join in expressing personal gratitude for the blessings of liberty and peace we enjoy today. In so doing, let us reaffirm our belief in a dynamic spirit that will continue to nurture and guide us as we prepare to meet the challenge of our third century.

I call upon all Americans on this day to gather with family and friends in homes and places of worship and join in offering gratitude for this Nation’s countless blessings. I ask that we share with our senior citizens and with those less fortunate than ourselves this special day that brings us all closer together.

Put your answers or guesses in the comments. I’ll let you know once someone has gotten it right.

Discussions - 20 Comments

My guess is Gerald Ford.

Gerald Ford

Excellent guess! How about this one?

One of the splendid events which shape man’s destiny occurred when a small band of people, believing in the essential sanctity of their own being, went in search of a land in which their individuality might be the highest national value, before any arbitrary limitation or duty placed upon some men by the whim or design of others.

They went in search of a land where they might live out their own commitment to their own ideal of human freedom. In the purpose of their search, the human spirit found its ultimate definition, and in the product of their search, its ultimate expression. They found the land they sought, and it was a difficult land, but it was rich. With their sacrifices they brought forth its riches, and laid the foundation for a new nation.

But more than that, they revealed a new possibility for the expression of man’s spirit. In the sure unfolding of that possibility man has begun to experience a world in which he may do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with his god forever.

For what those early settlers established, we give thanks in a way which began with them. In their first years on the hard cold edge of man’s bright golden-dream, they were tried and their faith was tested. But when their bodies failed, their faith did not.

Or this one?

On this Thanksgiving Day, the hospitality and harmony of loved ones, friends, and neighbors, remind each of us that we belong to the larger family of mankind.

As we gather together during this sacred and cherished time, let us pledge to build a new America where everyone will have a place at the table, and no one will be left out. In this way we will truly maintain the spirit of thanksgiving that has enriched our country since its beginnings. While recognizing the importance of individual responsibility, we will continue to place the strength and benevolence of this great Nation at the service of all its people, indeed of all the peoples of the earth. Then, in these richer years, we will reap a true and fruitful harvest.

Nixon and Clinton, respectively.

Yup and yup. How about this one?

The season is at hand when, according to the customs of our people, it falls upon the President to appoint a day of praise and thanksgiving to God.

During the last year the Lord has dealt bountifully with us, giving us peace at home and abroad, and the chance for our citizens to work for their welfare unhindered by war, famine, or plague. It behooves us not only to rejoice greatly because of what has been given us, but to accept it with a solemn sense of responsibility, realizing that under heaven it rests with us ourselves to show that we are worthy to use aright what has thus been intrusted to our care. In no other place and at no other time has the experiment of government of the people, by the people, for the people, been tried on so vast a scale as here in our own country in the opening years of the twentieth century. Failure would not only be a dreadful thing for us, but a dreadful thing for all mankind, because it would mean loss of hope for all who believe in the power and the righteousness of liberty.

Therefore, in thanking God for the mercies extended to us in the past, we beseech Him that He may not withhold them in the future, and that our hearts may be roused to war steadfastly for good and against all the forces of evil, public and private. We pray for strength and light, so that in the coming years we may with cleanliness, fearlessness, and wisdom, do our allotted work on the earth in such manner as to show that we are not altogether unworthy of the blessings we have received.

Pres. Reagan

Sounds like Teddy Roosevelt.

Woodrow Wilson?

Nope. It was Teddy Roosevelt.

Fred’s right. Here’s another.

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord."

More than three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which to give thanks to God for their preservation and for the good harvest from the virgin soil upon which they had labored. Grave and unknown dangers remained. Yet by their faith and by their toil they had survived the rigors of the harsh New England winter. Hence they paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence.

This year, as the harvest draws near its close and the year approaches its end, awesome perils again remain to be faced. Yet we have, as in the past, ample reason to be thankful for the abundance of our blessings. We are grateful for the blessings of faith and health and strength and for the imperishable spiritual gifts of love and hope. We give thanks, too, for our freedom as a nation; for the strength of our arms and the faith of our friends; for the beliefs and confidence we share; for our determination to stand firmly for what we believe to be right and to resist mightily what we believe to be base; and for the heritage of liberty bequeathed by our ancestors which we are privileged to preserve for our children and our children’s children.

It is right that we should be grateful for the plenty amidst which we live; the productivity of our farms, the output of our factories, the skill of our artisans, and the ingenuity of our investors. But in the midst of our thanksgiving, let us not be unmindful of the plight of those in many parts of the world to whom hunger is no stranger and the plight of those millions more who live without the blessings of liberty and freedom. With some we are able to share our material abundance through our Food-for-Peace Program and through our support of the United Nations Freedom-from-Hunger Campaign. To all we can offer the sustenance of hope that we shall not fail in our unceasing efforts to make this a peaceful and prosperous world for all mankind.


I urge all citizens to make this Thanksgiving not merely a holiday from their labors, but rather a day of contemplation. I ask the head of each family to recount to his children the story of the first New England thanksgiving, thus to impress upon future generations the heritage of this nation born in toil, in danger, in purpose, and in the conviction that right and justice and freedom can through man’s efforts persevere and come to fruition with the blessing of God.

Let us observe this day with reverence and with prayer that will rekindle in us the will and show us the way not only to preserve our blessings, but also to extend them to the four corners of the earth. Let us by our example, as well as by our material aid, assist all peoples of all nations who are striving to achieve a better life in freedom.

John Kennedy?

Righto! One more:

In the first Presidential Thanksgiving Day proclamation, George Washington observed that "it is the Duty of all Nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his Will, to be grateful for his Benefits, and humbly to implore His Protection and Favor." As a people who have long enjoyed unparalleled material prosperity and the priceless blessings of peace and freedom, we Americans cannot fail to fulfill this great, yet joyous, duty. Thus, we pause each year on Thanksgiving Day to express our gratitude for the goodness and generosity of our Creator and to ask His continued protection and guidance in all our endeavors, both as individuals and as a Nation.

The observance of Thanksgiving was a cherished tradition in America long before George Washington called his countrymen "to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be." Indeed, we trace the tradition of giving thanks back to some of the earliest settlers in this country - not only the Pilgrims at Plymouth but also early colonists at Jamestown, New Amsterdam, and St. Augustine. With hands clasped in prayer and hearts full of gratitude, these men and women gave public thanks to God for having been sustained through times of hardship and peril.

William Bradford’s account of the experience of the settlers at Plymouth Colony is not only a moving description of the trials of emigration to a wilderness but also captures their profound faith and contains a timeless exhortation to succeeding generations:

Being thus passed the vast ocean ... they had now no friends to welcome them, nor inns to entertain or refresh their weatherbeaten bodies, no houses or much less towns to repair to ... And for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of that country know them to be sharp and violent … Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness? … Neither could they, as it were, go to the top of Pisgah, to view from this wilderness a more godly country to feed their hopes, for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upwards to the heavens) they could have little solace or content … what could now sustain them but the spirit of God and His grace? They cried to the Lord, and He heard their voice, and looked on their adversity. Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good, and His mercies endure for ever.

The historic observance of a day of thanksgiving at Plymouth in 1621 was one of many occasions on which our ancestors paused to acknowledge their dependence on the mercy and favor of Divine Providence. Today, on this Thanksgiving Day, likewise observed during a season of celebration and harvest, we have added cause for rejoicing: the seeds of democratic thought sown on these shores continue to take root around the world. In Central and Eastern Europe, in Latin America, and elsewhere, courageous men and women are beginning to reap the blessings of freedom and self-government. Peoples who once suffered under the heavy yoke of totalitarianism have begun to claim the liberty to which all are heirs.

Our gratitude for the rights and opportunities we enjoy as Americans may be measured by how carefully we use and preserve these gifts, as when we cultivate in our children a love of freedom and an understanding of the responsibilities that freedom demands of us. We tend the precious blossom of our liberty when we recall the example of our ancestors and strive to ensure that our own lives are firmly rooted in faith. Like our forebears, we must cherish the values and beliefs that are the foundation of strong, loving families and caring communities and recognize the importance of learning and hard work, because these are the wellspring of progress and prosperity.

The great freedom and prosperity with which we have been blessed is cause for rejoicing - and it is equally a responsibility. Indeed, Scripture tells us that much will be asked of those to whom much has been given. Our "errand in the wilderness," begun more than 350 years ago, is not yet complete. Abroad, we are working toward a new partnership of nations. At home, we seek lasting solutions to the problems facing our Nation and pray for a society "with liberty and justice for all," the alleviation of want, and the restoration of hope to all our people.

This Thanksgiving, as we enjoy the company of family and friends, let us gratefully turn our hearts to God, the loving Source of all Life and Liberty. Let us seek His forgiveness for our shortcomings and transgressions and renew our determination to remain a people worthy of His continued favor and protection. Acknowledging our dependence on the Almighty, obeying His Commandments, and reaching out to help those who do not share fully in this Nation’s bounty is the most heartfelt and meaningful answer we can give to the timeless appeal of the Psalmist: "O give thanks to the Lord for He is good: for his steadfast love endures forever."

God help me, but I think it was that lunatic Carter. I hope I’m wrong

The bicentenial of the USA was in 1976. Gerald Ford was the president. I belive the qoute was by Geral Ford.

President Gerald Ford

Readers of Joe Knippenberg’s Thanksgiving editorial (see link given by Peter Schramm just above this item) would easily learn that the above quote comes not from Ford, or Carter, but from George H.W. Bush.

Allan is correct about the proclamation offered in comment #12. The others are correct that the original proclamation came from Gerald Ford. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!


Google is a beautiful thing. Cut and paste the first sentence, and presto--a web page with all these proclamations. Ya gotta love it!!

For the record, Dain was wrong, and I was right.


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