For those who have never read Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation establishing Thanksgiving Day, it is a fine statement, well worth reading.
One is struck immediately by the religious consciousness which saturates the text. Not only does President Lincoln’s frank acknowledgement of God’s existence stand out to us today, but also his concomitant awareness that God’s justice and mercy stand above us as sinners. Both penitence and gratitude inform the landscape of the imagination.
Americans are still very religious people on the whole, but not like this.