On Oct. 3, 1789, from the capital of New York City, President George Washington issued the first proclamation of a National Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer. There was reason to rejoice as just one week earlier, the first session of the United States Congress approved the first ten amendments, better known as the Bill of Rights, thereby limiting the power and scope of the federal government. Washington wrote: “Now, therefore, I do recommend … the People of these United States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”

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