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Abraham Lincoln proclaims a day of Thanksgiving in the middle of the Civil War

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

The date was October 3, 1863. The Civil War was at its height, with no end in sight and no clear sign yet of victory for the Union. For all anyone knew, the great American experiment in self-government, freedom, and constitutional law was about to end in failure, with one half of the nation continuing on founded on the idea that it was okay to enslave other human beings, based on their race.

In such a moment, President Abraham Lincoln did what all past leaders in America had done, call for a day of prayer to God for the future while giving thanks for the blessings still abounding. For this purpose he set aside the last Thursday of November of that year.

Since then, Americans have never stopped celebrating Thanksgiving on that day. Today comes another Thanksgiving during a time of chaos, hate, violence, and oppression. There is much to invoke horror and outrage.

There is much more to be thankful for. As much as some have tried to squelch freedom here in America and abroad, all signs say that freedom-lovers everywhere are refusing to go down without a fight. Let us join together to renew that effort, so that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Below is Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation. If only we had leaders today who could think and write with similar elegance and humility.
A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards 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 watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, 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 defence, 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 battle-field; 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 nor 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.

The first Thanksgiving by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris
The first Thanksgiving by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris

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, tranquillity 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

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Milt

    As Robert observes, there is much to be thankful for today.

    “As much as some have tried to squelch freedom here in America and abroad, all signs say that freedom-lovers everywhere* are refusing to go down without a fight. Let us join together to renew that effort, so that ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’”

    *Including, as I read, in Argentina and in the Netherlands.

    Robert’s comments, happily, are echoed in the commentary of two other iconoclasts who are also not planning on going down without a fight.

    “Those of us outside the [Deep State cabal] and [its] mobs know that our country
    has to be rebuilt somehow, and that rebuilding it must include assurances of personal
    liberty. I’m grateful and thankful this year that there are enough of us who under-
    stand what’s at stake and are prepared to fight against slithering tyranny. Do you see
    where things stand this Thanksgiving? It feels like the edge of something because it
    is the edge of something.”

    James Howard Kunstler

    “Always trust your gut. If you feel like they are lying to you, they are.”

    Tucker Carlson

    Here are two additional takes on “where we are” in America this Thanksgiving, the first by James Howard Kunstler and the second — a video — by Tucker Carlson:

    As both of these observers suggest, we are heading toward “strange days” over the next year, and the question is whether or not enough people will heed these warnings and begin to take the necessary actions to maintain some semblance of our existing country / culture / civilization in the face of the Deep State’s all out assault on conventional reality.

    The elites and their enablers, at least for the moment, see nothing wrong with where we appear to be headed, and they so vested in the Deep State’s lies and its wall of denial that they fear any kind of a course correction. Even, as Tucker Carlson points out, the simple act of telling of the truth, which is fatal to their narrative.

    As I have observed before, the psychology of those who, like Gavin Newsom and most of the people in the Biden Administration, lie with such alacrity — indeed, as Tucker Carlson observes, they embrace the very *inversion* of the truth — has been masterfully described by M. Scott Peck in his book, The People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil.

    Thank God, today, for people like Robert and anyone else who will simply tell the truth. As George Orwell observed, “in a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.,” As Dr. Peck explains, it also exposes and expiates evil.

    Happy Thanksgiving

  • Phil Berardelli

    America might never again have a man of such insight and humility as Abraham Lincoln. But we are blessed that he did exist, and that his words remain in our history and memory.

    It might be easy to despair over the state of America right now, particularly its deteriorating cities with their homeless encampments, looted retail stores and crime-ridden areas. Perhaps the damage is beyond repair. But I doubt it. If there is any city that stands testimony to the ability of humans to recover from even the most horrible destruction, remember that in today’s world, one of its most beautiful, thriving metropolises is … Hiroshima.

  • wayne

    “A Day of Thanksgiving”
    Centron Films (1951)

    “An American family unable to afford a Thanksgiving turkey reviews the things for which they feel thankful. This patriotic film is unusual in that it does not link freedom and happiness with the pursuit of wealth. Produced with nonprofessional actors in Lawrence, Kansas.”

    Approximate cost of 16lb turkey in 1951 = $2.69, which is roughly equivalent to $31 in today’s purchasing power.

  • “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.”

    Deuteronomy 8:10 KJV

  • I formalized and made some comments about Rush Limbaugh and the “The True Story Of Thanksgiving” broadcast.

    This is the condensed 9 minute version:

    A worthwhile listen for all, it is a reminder of the realities that exist between the Communal / Socialist theory of survival and existence and the theory of private property and what is essentially Capitalism and how IT frees the individual into some degree of prosperity depending on the effort exerted.

    No Democrat or bleeding-heart Liberal, radical Leftist / Marxist would have much of anyone else’s wealth to confiscate and redistribute without the hard lessons of the Pilgrims and the brilliance of the Founders who made the required realizations regarding individual freedom, private property and the abuse of power and how to counterbalance it. There would literally be NOTHING!

    We have been highjacked by the enemy within! And that is how parasites live and prosper. They can do and be nothing else. And eventually if allowed to grow too great in their parasitism they kill their host. Time for a good political fumigating and cleaning!

    Feel free to copy it and send it to your favorite delusional Democrat or even better a delusional “progressive” Democrat who is under the impression that because of their innate “brilliance” and highly educated status they are going to refigure how and what America and the Constitution should really look like. You know, “new and improved”.

    Delusion: psychology : A persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary

  • Questioner

    I have to admit, I would have liked a Confederate victory. These people simply had more courage, class, style and culture than the Unionists. Sooner or later slavery would have been abolished anyway.

  • Cotour

    “Sooner or later slavery would have been abolished anyway.”

    Are you sure?

    What makes you say that?

    Slavery still exists in the world today; it is alive and well.

    Why would you believe that such a “classy” and “stylish” Southern society that fully embraced slavery would be abolishing it?

  • Cotour

    An interesting subject if you begin looking into it.

    “Through new partnerships, more nonprofit organizations and countries are beginning to meet and share their data. Walk Free, the International Labor Organization and dozens of other state and nonstate actors came together in 2016 to form Alliance 8.7. In 2017, the coalition jointly estimated there were some 40 million people enslaved worldwide.”

    Formal plantation like slavery in many respects is a foreign concept to most Americans due to the South failing to prevail in the civil war.

    And slavery? Still apparently alive and well in some locations on the planet, as foreign a concept as that may be.

    Living in America is to exist several levels removed from real reality. A fantasy of sorts really.

    No one desperate and willing to risk life and limb to break into China or North Korea and many other countries for that matter.

    There are reasons, individual freedom and prosperity come to mind.

  • Questioner


    I believe that slavery would have been abolished in the South for economic reasons as well. Firstly, because there would have been technical progress on the cotton plantation too, which would have required fewer but better trained workers. By the way, slaves also incur costs (possibly shopping, accommodation, food, etc.) and the manual work that slaves normally do is significantly slower compared to the use of machines.

    Second, because I can imagine that over time the victorious South would certainly have abandoned its very strong focus on cotton and agriculture in general in order to build a stronger industrial base (the absence of which in my scenario would have almost prevented the Confederate victory).

  • Lee S

    @Cotour….. ( here we go! )

    Wow, just wow!

    Quote “No Democrat or bleeding-heart Liberal, radical Leftist / Marxist would have much of anyone else’s wealth to confiscate and redistribute without the hard lessons of the Pilgrims and the brilliance of the Founders who made the required realizations regarding individual freedom, private property and the abuse of power and how to counterbalance it. There would literally be NOTHING! ”

    I live in a socialist country, ( even our “right leaning” government would seem very left to you ) and our standard of living is in the top 10 in the world rankings

    Other lists are available…. They all include Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, all.of which you would consider socialist. The USA appears in non. Sharing the wealth out a bit can have very positive results. I see no argument the findings of every survey conducted into average “quality of life” can be wrong by not having the US in the top 10. We have a considerable amount more than “NOTHING ”

    President Lincoln’s speech is calm, collected and very thoughtful… Don’t get me wrong. This is not a criticism of the speech, more a criticism of some of the comments here.

    The other point raised here that fuels actual rage in me is that slavery in the US would eventually go away in the event of a southern victory. This implies that you are fine with slaves continuing to be beaten, killed without consequence and forced into back breaking labour for just a few more years until slavery faded away…. These slaves were fellow humans, and the uncaring disregard for the suffering of your fellow man, ( no matter the passage of time, they lived and breathed, they were our brethren), well… The hypocrisy of thanking your God for what you have, and wishing that a few more humans suffered in servitude boggles my mind.

  • Cotour

    ” “No Democrat or bleeding-heart Liberal, radical Leftist / Marxist would have much of anyone else’s wealth to confiscate and redistribute without the hard lessons of the Pilgrims and the brilliance of the Founders who made the required realizations regarding individual freedom, private property and the abuse of power and how to counterbalance it. There would literally be NOTHING! ”’

    AND? My point is that there would be nothing to confiscate in order that there be a more Liberal social structure like Sweden, or America. If the people are not prosperous and are unable to produce and sell their over production for a profit and instead everything is owned and controlled by the state there would be nothing close to the life that you are able to live.

    The radical Leftists have figured out that they can work the system and force these now too Liberal countries to support their own invasion by those who are diametrically opposed to their very existence. And you are apparently unable to project yourself into a future where that is so. And that has me concerned, both for the people of Sweden and my own people and country America.

    From the initial landing of the Pilgrims, to the formulation of the Constitution and the scheme / structure that attempts to counterbalance the abuse of power by government in relation to the people, to the ABOLISHMENT of slavery, to the power of personal property and the people’s Right to own and control the means of production in Capitalism is the most freeing formula in the earth’s history.

    And it is an ongoing literal battle to maintain that balance between the human nature to abuse power and wealth.

    Both America and Sweden, both prosperous and free more Liberal societies, have been invaded by a radical elements that seek to destroy their current structure and turn them into fully Socialist and authoritarian countries.

    Why? Because that is the nature of man related to this kind of battle for absolute control.

    And below is a totally perverted self-serving projection by the writer. Why? It is the nature of the “Compassionate” Liberal. If you could actually explain where that sentence comes from and support its veracity by what was posted on this panel I would be amazed.

    To me you appear to be a self-hating white man, it is a common syndrome today.

    “The hypocrisy of thanking your God for what you have, and wishing that a few more humans suffered in servitude boggles my mind.”

  • Cotour

    As an example, related to statements that you generally make where you manipulate the meaning of what was said:

    Ronald Reagan on government:

    And how a Democrat operative Miguel Cardona very carefully chose to misquote Reagan and transformed what he meant:

    Do you see the difference, Lee S?

    The entire Reagan quote is related to the governments tendency to usurp the peoples freedom because that is governments nature. Mr. Cardona has highjacked the Reagan quote and transformed the meaning, it is a fraud in other words. Reagan did not say that and that is not what he meant. He used some of those words, but Cardona has turned his meaning 180 degrees.

    And that is a typical Liberal / Leftist / Democrat verbiage maneuver and manipulation to control words, terms and intent.

    It is all a psyops, a phycological manipulation of the human mind.

    But not if you can detect it. And if you are unaware of it and are unable to detect and understand it then that is your reality. Fraud, half truths and false statements are your reality.

    And it cuts both ways, but the Liberal now radical Leftists I.E. philosophical Marxist Democrats in America and within Sweden really use it like they breath. Why? Because that is all they have.

  • Lee S

    By God Contour…….

    I’m not a gymnast, but even if was I couldn’t jump thru the hoops you want me to, to even understand your argument. Let me break mine down for you into easy to digest points

    1. Sweden is consistently ranked in the top 10 countries to live in. The US isn’t. You can check many lists… You will find the results consistent.

    Explain why not?

    2. I have a problem with the idea that prolonging slavery in the US could have any morally acceptable results, if I am wrong… Explain why not?

    Just asking, can you please refrain from refering to YouTube videos as a source of information… You would get the lowest possible score if you quoted a video in a dissertation… Slightly less than if you quoted Wikipedia… I don’t doubt we all are reasonably intelligent here… But BS in = BS out has existed since the dawn of time!

    We. , indeed I deserve a more rational rebuke to my comments, stop waffling please!

    Socialist countries are doing just fine, thank you very much… And it’s kinda good that slavery ended when it did.

  • Lee S

    You know Contour,

    ( And my previous answer hasn’t made it thru the filter yet ),

    I mean this from a place of friendship and love… You need to get out in the world , especially travel Europe, especially travel the Nordic countries, and see how different political views can come together and create answers to hard questions.

    You live under a crazy 2 party system…. There is not one of the posters here that can say the republicans or the democrats have all the answers….. It’s impossible.. the right is not always right, and the left isn’t always wrong .

    You guys need to sort out your electoral process… The last election was not “stolen”… Trump lost.. suck it up… But the process could be improved to remove any doubts about the result.

    The greatest democracy in the world ain’t so great these days guys…. You need to fix it… And of that means working with the left…..

  • Cotour

    “The greatest democracy in the world ain’t so great these days guys…. You need to fix it… And of that means working with the left…..”

    Fix it? It’s not broken. It is operating as designed.

    Our Democratic republic is structured for political warfare, struggle, in order for some degree of truth to be revealed to the public. And that is a very messy process you, me and everyone else are witness to. And the more contentious it gets between the parties and the absolute control of power is seen as a reachable goal by one side over the other the crazier it will get.

    So, I suggest you get your popcorn popped for the 2024 presidential election because this is going to be like nothing anyone has ever seen before. This is our system, this is our process. America is not Sweden but both countries have been infected with the same Leftist / Globalist infection. And you are unconscious to it.

    As for the video content? Get over it, I am not writing a dissertation I am communicating on a blog and video is and can be very effective in accomplishing that.

    Sweden as I know it is a beautiful country filled with beautiful and civilized people. However, I do not have to travel there to know what time it is:

    Do you know what time it is?

  • Cotour

    Why this trend, Lee S?

    Why are the major countries in the world now making a hard Right-hand turn? Because of the wonderfulness of the fantastic success of the far-Left Liberals, Socialists and very ambitious Globalists? The Left fully empowered is a cancer and below you will see the evidence of that.







    Maybe you should take a tour around Europe and get a better MACRO sense of what time it is over there?

  • Cotour

    Lee S, maybe you will take the word of a former fellow Liberal, formerly employed by the New York Times. Until she quit because the paper is even too Liberal now radical Leftist even for her!

    Bari Weiss sent this to a friend of mine, and she forwarded it to me. Timing is everything in life.

    Everything we are witness to today in America and the world is an extension of the Obama apology tour “Transform America” (and by extension the world) administration.

    Its all about “Equity” and reparations and replacing the white man and all of the colonialism, subjugation and pain he has introduced into the world.

    That is really what this is all connected to.

    And you cannot see, detect or understand any of it.

    And that is the frustrating thing about politics today, for me anyway.

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