Grover Cleveland and other Presidential Proclamations

Quote of the Week   —   Posted on November 26, 2013

From the Thanksgiving Proclamations of several Presidents:

George Washington, 1789


“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…”

George Washington, 1789:

“And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions…”

John Adams, 1798:


“[W]ith the deepest humility, acknowledge before God the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation, beseeching Him at the same time, of His infinite grace, through the Redeemer of the World, freely to remit all our offenses, and to incline us by His Holy Spirit to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for his inestimable favor and heavenly benediction;”

James Madison, 1814:

jamesmadison“[A] day on which all may have an opportunity of voluntarily offering at the same time in their respective religious assemblies their humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe, of confessing their sins and transgressions, and of strengthening their vows of repentance and amendment.

Abraham Lincoln, 1863:

abrahamlincoln“[A]nd finally to lead the whole nation through the paths of repentance and submission to the divine will back to the perfect enjoyment of union and fraternal peace.”

Abraham Lincoln, 1865:

“Whereas righteousness exalteth a nation, while sin is a reproach to any people. … And I do further recommend that on that occasion the whole people make confession of our national sins against His infinite goodness, and with one heart and one mind implore the divine guidance in the ways of national virtue and holiness.”

Grover Cleveland, 1887:


“On that day let all secular work and employment be suspended, and let our people assemble in their accustomed places of worship and with prayer and songs of praise give thanks to our Heavenly Father for all that He has done for us, while we humbly implore the forgiveness of our sins and a continuance of His mercy.”

Grover Cleveland, 1896:

“And let us, through the mediation of Him who has taught us how to pray, implore the forgiveness of our sins and a continuation of heavenly favor.”

Dwight Eisenhower, 1953:

dwightdeisenhower“On that day let all of us, in accordance with our hallowed custom, forgather in our respective places of worship and bow before God in contrition for our sins, in suppliance for wisdom in our striving for a better world, and in gratitude for the manifold blessings He has bestowed upon us and upon our fellow men.”

John Kennedy, 1963, quoted from Washington’s Proclamation, including the plea to

johnfkennedy“[B]eseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions…”

Ronald Reagan, 1988, quoting Washington:

ronaldreagan“[A] recognition of our shortcomings and transgressions and our dependence, in total and in every particular, on the forgiveness and forbearance of the Almighty.”

President George H.W. Bush, 1990, quoting Washington:

georgehwbush“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.”

For the full text of every Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation, go to: