In his first year as the first president of the United States, George Washington designated Nov. 25, 1789, “a Day of public Thanksgiving and Prayer.” Washington’s proclamation appeared in the Oct. 7, 1789, edition of the Gazette of the United States, a Federalist Party newspaper that regularly reported the affairs of the federal government.
In the Gazette’s first column, the proclamation read in part:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence for Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful to 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 and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday the twenty-fifth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States, to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”
An original copy of the Gazette of the United States can be viewed in the Newseum’s News Corporation News History Gallery.