In October of 1789, President George Washington issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation, calling the nation to “acknowledge the providence of Almighty God.”
Six years after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, Elias Boudinot of New Jersey brought a resolution to the US House of Representatives requesting that the President set aside a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. Washington responded with the following proclamation:
By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation.
Whereas 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—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”