Column Archives Biography Books/CDs Publishing Info Opt In/Out Feedback Home
America: Founded On Faith


As Americans celebrate another Thanksgiving, replete with Pilgrims, feasts, and football, it has become necessary in today's climate of secularism and division to remind ourselves of the origin of this holiday. Though the tradition is rooted in those devout Christians who sailed aboard the Mayflower to live in a land where they could openly worship God without fear of government repression, the November holiday was not officially set aside until President Lincoln signed it into law on October 3, 1863.

These words are powerful reminder of the role that God Almighty has played in forming the most prosperous nation on the face of the earth. It is also uncanny to note the similarities between Lincoln's time, just following the ghastly Civil War, and our own times, in the midst of a bloody war against terrorism.

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watching providence of Almighty God. 

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. 

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. 

No human counsel hath devised not hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. 

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. 

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and Union. 

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. 

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth. 

By the President: 
Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State 

President Lincoln recognized God's hand on our nation, even during times of anger, division and grief. May we never forget the faith of our forefathers as we recognize how much God has blessed our country. 

This much-admired president made the type of appeal to God that needs to be made at this very moment. He recognized the need for grace and mercy while reminding everyone that we must consider our own ways, repent of our failures, and walk according to the will of Almighty God. While thanking God for His everlasting blessings, let us also respond to His mandate concerning repentance and the restoration of principled living.

Author: James Robison

Word Count: 780

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host of the television program, Life Today; and author of The Absolutes.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, randy.robison at

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.