WS>>03-48 Thanksgiving Edition

carl william spitzer iv cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Thu Nov 27 12:57:36 MST 2003

          From: The Federalist <mailer at>
          Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003

          The Conservative e-Journal of Record
          * Veritas Vos Liberabit *

          Federalist No. 03-48 Special Edition
          A Patriot's Thanksgiving -- 2003


          "Go  on,  then, in your generous  enterprise  with
          gratitude  to  Heaven for past success,  and  con-
          fidence of it in the future." --Samuel Adams

          GOOD NEWS

          "In  everything  give  thanks."  (I  Thessalonians
          5:18)   ++ "Be anxious for nothing, but in  every-
          thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
          let your requests be made known to God."  (Philip-
          pians 4:6)


          "In  want or in plenty, in times of challenge or  times
     of calm, we always have reasons to be thankful.  America  is
     a  land of abundance, prosperity, and hope. ...This  Thanks-
     giving,  we again give thanks for all of our  blessings  and
     for  the freedoms we enjoy every day.  Our Founders  thanked
     the Almighty and humbly sought His wisdom and blessing.  May
     we  always live by that same trust, and may God continue  to
     watch over and bless the United States of America." --Presi-
     dent George W. Bush

          (Link here for a Thanksgiving quiz for children --


          "Measured  by the standards of men of their  time,  ...
     [the  Pilgrims] were the humble of the earth.   Measured  by
     later  accomplishments, they were the mighty. In  appearance
     weak  and persecuted they came -- rejected, despised  --  an
     insignificant  band;  in reality strong and  independent,  a
     mighty  host of whom the world was not worthy,  destined  to
     free mankind."  --Calvin Coolidge


          "Thursday, Americans all over the world will gather  to
     celebrate  with family and friends and give thanks  for  the
     blessings  of freedom and of life.  Thanksgiving is  a  very
     special  American  holiday,  first  in  1621,  I'm  told  --
     although I wasn't there -- and celebrated every year  since.
     It's  a  reminder  not just of the  abundance  that  freedom
     brings, but of the origins of our great country, really  the
     first  nation in the history of the world to be  founded  on
     freedom.  For the Pilgrims, Thanksgiving was the culmination
     of a long year of hardship and struggle, a struggle in which
     they  risked everything for the right to be  free.   Freedom
     lies  at  the  heart of who we are and what  we  believe  as
     Americans.  And for well more than two centuries, our  coun-
     try  has been blessed, year after year, with men  and  women
     willing to fight and die to defend freedom, the freedom that
     we  all cherish.  This Thanksgiving, Americans have a  great
     deal to be grateful for and proud of. " --Defense  Secretary
     Donald Rumsfeld

          THE GIPPER

          "I've spoken of the shining city all my political life,
     but  I  don't know if I ever quite communicated what  I  saw
     when  I said it.  But in my mind it was a tall,  proud  city
     built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed,
     and  teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony  and
     peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce  and
     creativity.  ...After  200 years, two centuries,  she  still
     stands  strong and true on the granite ridge, and  her  glow
     has  held  steady no matter what storm.  And she's  still  a
     beacon,  still a magnet for all who must have  freedom,  for
     all  the pilgrims from all the lost places who are  hurtling
     through the darkness, toward home." --Ronald Reagan

          THANKSGIVING 2003


          Which  of  our  country's many blessings  are  we  most
     grateful for here at The Federalist?  Certainly, chief among
     these blessings is the genius and intrepidity of our  Found-
     ing Fathers -- humanly flawed men, to be sure, but  nonethe-
     less brilliant, resilient, and God-fearing.

          Consider  the  circumstances  of  our  country's  first
     Thanksgiving  Day celebrated after our Declaration of  Inde-
     pendence.   The  first national  Thanksgiving  Proclamation,
     issued by the revolutionary Continental Congress on November
     1,  1777,  expressed gratitude for  the  colonials'  October
     victory over British General Burgoyne at Saratoga.  Authored
     by  Samuel  Adams, its one sentence of 360  words  reads  in
     part: "Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all  men
     to  adore the superintending providence of Almighty God;  to
     acknowledge  with  gratitude  their obligation  to  him  for
     benefits  received...together  with penitent  confession  of
     their  sins,  whereby they had forfeited  every  favor;  and
     their  humble and earnest supplications that it  may  please
     God  through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to  for-
     give  and  blot them out of  is  therefore  set apart Thursday the eighteenth  day  of
     December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise, that with
     one  heart  and one voice the good people  may  express  the
     grateful  feeling of their hearts and consecrate  themselves
     to  the service of their  Divine  Benefactor...acknowledging

     with  gratitude  their obligations to Him for  benefits  re-
     ceived....To  prosper the means of religion, for the  promo-
     tion  and enlargement of that kingdom which  consisteth  'in
     righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost'."

          On Wednesday, December 17th, General George  Washington
     issued  general  orders including the  following:  "Tomorrow
     being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for public
     Thanksgiving  and  Praise; and duty calling us  devoutly  to
     express  our grateful acknowledgements to God for the  mani-
     fold  blessings he has granted us, the General directs  that
     the army remain in its present quarters, and that the  Chap-
     lains  perform divine service with their several  Corps  and
     Brigades. And earnestly exhorts, all officers and  soldiers,
     whose absence is not indispensably necessary, to attend with
     reverence the solemnities of the day."

          Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn's diary entry for December 18th
     described  the  want and  privation  shrouding  Washington's
     troops,  despite their military victories: "This is  Thanks-
     giving  Day. God knows we have very little to keep it  with,
     this  being  the  third day we have been  without  flour  or
     bread, and are living on a high, uncultivated hill, in  huts
     and tents, lying on the cold ground. Upon the whole I  think
     all we have to be thankful for is that we are alive and  not
     in the grave with many of our friends."

          For  our nation, Thanksgiving has been best  celebrated
     in the shadow of want, and thus Thanksgiving shows the  best
     of  our  character.  We recount the origins of  our  Day  of
     Thanksgiving that we may celebrate the holiday as our  fore-
     bears did, in humble acknowledgment and heartfelt  gratitude
     for God's many blessings upon His people and our nation, and
     that  we may focus respectfully on the origins of our  free-

          The  celebration we now popularly regard as "The  First
     Thanksgiving"  was the Pilgrims' three-day feast  celebrated
     in early November of 1621.  Thanksgiving alone among  Ameri-
     can  religious  holidays derives in the  main  from  Puritan
     observances.   Christmas, Easter and saints' days  trace  to
     origins  in other Christian faiths, and although  all  these
     festive celebrations have developed an essentially  American
     stamp,  Thanksgiving alone is the quintessentially  American

          The  Pilgrims were Puritans.  They were America's  Cal-
     vinist  Protestants -- those who rejected the  institutional
     Church  of England and embarked from Plymouth,  England,  on
     September 6, 1620, sailing for a new world that offered  the
     promise  of  both civil and religious liberty.   For  almost
     three months, 102 seafarers braved harsh elements to  arrive
     off the coast of what is now Massachusetts, in late November
     of 1620.  On December 11, prior to disembarking at  Plymouth
     Rock,  they signed the "Mayflower Compact," often  cited  as
     America's  original  document of civil  government  and  the
     first to introduce self-government. While still anchored  at
     Provincetown harbor, their Pastor, John Robinson, counseled,
     "You are become a body politic ... and are to have only them
     for  your ... governors which yourselves shall  make  choice
     of."  Governor  William  Bradford  described  the  Mayflower
     Compact  as  "a combination made by them  before  they  came
     ashore  ...  occasioned partly by the discontented  and  mu-
     tinous speeches that some of the strangers amongst them  had
     let fall....That when they came ashore they would use  their
     owne libertie; for none had power to command them...."

          Upon  landing  in  America, the  Pilgrims  conducted  a
     prayer  service, then quickly turned to  building  shelters.
     Starvation  and  sickness  during the  ensuing  New  England
     winter  killed  almost half their  population,  but  through
     prayer  and hard work, with the assistance of  their  Indian
     friends, the Pilgrims reaped a rich harvest in the summer of
     1621.  The first Thanksgiving to God in the Calvinist tradi-
     tion  in Plymouth Colony was actually celebrated during  the
     summer  of 1623, when the colonists declared a  Thanksgiving
     holiday  after their crops were saved by  much-needed  rain-

          In 1630, while sailing to America, devout Puritan  John
     Winthrop, later to become Governor of the Massachusetts  Bay
     Colony,  meditated on the task before the colonists  seeking
     religious  liberty: "We will be as a city upon a hill.   The
     eyes  of all people are upon us, so that if we deal  falsely
     with  our God in this work we have undertaken and  so  cause
     Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a
     story  and  a  byword throughout the  world."  The  earliest
     Americans knew that self-government rests equally on liberty
     and virtue -- and that liberty and virtue are inseparable.

          By the mid-17th century, the custom of autumnal Thanks-
     givings was established throughout New England.   Observance
     of  Thanksgiving festivals began to spread southward  during
     the  American  Revolution, and the  Continental  Congresses,
     cognizant  of  the need for God's  continued  blessing  upon
     their  warring country, proclaimed yearly Thanksgiving  days
     during the Revolutionary War, from 1777 to 1783.  They  then
     officially  recognized  the importance of a day  for  giving
     thanks  for our nation's blessings in one of the first  acts
     of  the constitutional government.  Soon after adopting  the
     Bill of Rights to the Constitution, a motion in Congress  to
     initiate the proclamation of a national day of  thanksgiving
     was  approved.   Both chambers of Congress  asked  President
     George Washington "to recommend to the people of the  United
     States  a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to  be  ob-
     served  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."

          Washington  thus penned the following words,  then  set
     his  signature to the first day of thanks for the  liberties
     enshrined in our new Constitution:

          "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 protec-
     tion and favor....

          "Now,  therefore, I do recommend and  assign  Thursday,
     the  26th 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 of all the good that was,
     that  is,  or that will be; that we may then  all  unite  in
     rendering  unto  Him our sincere and humble thanks  for  His
     kind  care  and  protection of the people  of  this  country
     previous  to  their becoming a nation; for  the  signal  and
     manifold  mercies  and the favorable interpositions  of  His
     providence in the course and conclusion of the late war....

          "And also that we may then unite in most humbly  offer-
     ing our prayers and supplication to the great Lord and Ruler

     of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other
     transgressions ...[and] to render our national government  a
     blessing to all
          the  people by constantly being a government  of  wise,
     just  and  constitutional laws,  discreetly  and  faithfully
     executed and obeyed....

          "Given  under my hand, at the city of New York, the  3d
     day of October, AD 1789."

          Our nation's second president, John Adams, followed the
     custom  of  declaring  national days of  thanks,  and  James
     Madison,  our  fourth president, called for  three  national
     observances  of fasting and grateful prayer for  deliverance
     during the War of 1812.

          Thanksgiving has, historically, brought forth the  best
     in  our  nation and its citizens.  Indeed, it is  our  great
     good  hope  at  The Federalist that we  disavow  our  recent
     dalliances  with  hollow self-aggrandizement; that  we  move
     beyond our petty penchant for materialism; that we truly and
     humbly give thanks to God for our myriad blessings; and that
     His  hand  may  yet again guide us toward  a  future  secure
     beyond the dangers and hardships of the current age.

          President Ronald Reagan frequently invoked John  Winth-
     rop's  vision of America "as a city upon a hill."   In  this
     and many other ways, he administered the moral clarity that,
     through trial and testing, restored our nation to its  place
     of promise and prominence: "[O]ur cause must be to rediscov-
     er, reassert and reapply America's spiritual heritage to our
     national  affairs.  Then with God's help we shall indeed  be
     as a city upon a hill with the eyes of all people upon us."

          But as John Winthrop warned, "if our hearts shall  turn
     away,  so that we will not obey, but shall be  seduced,  and
     worship  other  Gods, our pleasure and  profits,  and  serve
     them;  it  is propounded unto us this day, we  shall  surely
     perish  out of the good land whither we pass over this  vast
     sea to possess it.

                    "Therefore let us choose life,
                    that we and our seed may live,
              by obeying His voice and cleaving to Him,
               for He is our life and our prosperity."

          On  this Day of Thanksgiving, we are again a nation  at
     war.  As our forebears remembered with every prayerful  word
     of  gratitude, even self-reliance is, at its root,  reliance
     on  Him.  How can we give thanks when all we have is a  gift
     of  our Heavenly Father?  On this day, then, let our  grati-
     tude  center  not upon the bounty so much as  the  blessing.
     And  as  Thanksgiving cultivates our  perseverance,  let  us
     press on in our fight to keep secure the blessings of liber-

          "Go  on, then, in your generous enterprise with  grati-
     tude to Heaven for past success, and confidence of it in the
     future.  For my own part, I ask no greater blessing than  to
     share  with you the common danger and common glory ...  that
     these  American States may never cease to be free and  inde-
     pendent." --Samuel Adams

          On  this Thanksgiving Day, especially, we ask that  you
     pray  for  our Patriot Armed Forces standing in  harm's  way

     around  the  world in defense of our liberty,  and  for  the
     families awaiting their safe return.

          As always, it is an honor and privilege to serve you as
     editor  and publisher of The Federalist.  We thank your  for
     your continued support, and we're humbled to count you among
     our readers.  On behalf of our Advisory Committee and staff,
     thank you, and may God bless you and your family.

          Lex et Libertas -- Semper Vigilo, Paratus, et  Fidelis!
     Mark Alexander, Publisher
          (Permission to reprint and/or forward is hereby  grant-

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