“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

George Washington issued his now-famous Thanksgiving Proclamation. In it, he designated Thursday, Nov. 26, 1789 as "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer." He asked Americans to render their "sincere and humble thanks" to God for "his kind care and protection of the People of this Country."

Thanksgiving, 1789
George Washington's proclamation was not without controversy.

It is hard to imagine America's favorite holiday as a source of political controversy. But that was the case in 1789, the year of our first Thanksgiving as a nation.
The controversy began on Sept. 25 in New York City, then the seat of government. The inaugural session of the first Congress was about to recess when Rep. Elias Boudinot of New Jersey rose to introduce a resolution. He asked the House to create a joint committee with the Senate to "wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would 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 signal favors of Almighty God."
The congressman made special reference to the Constitution, which had been ratified by the requisite two-thirds of the states in 1788. A day of public thanksgiving, he believed, would allow Americans to express gratitude to God for the "opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness."
Boudinot's resolution sparked a vigorous debate. Rep. Aedanus Burke of South Carolina objected on the grounds that a Thanksgiving was too European. He "did not like this mimicking of European customs, where they made a mere mockery of thanksgivings."
Rep. Thomas Tudor Tucker, also of South Carolina, raised two further objections. "Why should the President direct the people to do what, perhaps, they have no mind to do?" he asked. "If a day of thanksgiving must take place," he said, "let it be done by the authority of the several States.
It fell to a New Englander to stand up in support of Thanksgiving. Connecticut's Roger Sherman praised Boudinot's resolution as "a laudable one in itself." It also was "warranted by a number of precedents" in the Bible, he said, "for instance the solemn thanksgivings and rejoicings which took place in the time of Solomon, after the building of the temple."
In the end, the Thanksgiving resolution passed—the precise vote is not recorded—and the House appointed a committee. The resolution moved to the Senate, which passed it and added its own members to the committee.
The committee took the resolution to the president, and on Oct. 3 George Washington issued his now-famous Thanksgiving Proclamation. In it, he designated Thursday, Nov. 26, 1789 as "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer." He asked Americans to render their "sincere and humble thanks" to God for "his kind care and protection of the People of this Country."
It was his first presidential proclamation, and it was well heeded. According to the "Papers of George Washington," compiled by the University of Virginia, Thanksgiving Day was "widely celebrated throughout the nation." Newspapers around the country published the proclamation and announced plans for public functions in honor of the day. Religious services were held, and churches solicited donations for the poor. Washington himself sent $25 to a pastor in New York City, requesting that the funds be "applied towards relieving the poor of the Presbyterian Churches," in the words of his secretary.
Thanksgiving feasts in New England at the time of the nation's founding were similar to those today, says Charles Lyle, director of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum in Wethersfield, Conn. The museum recently hosted an 18th-century-style Thanksgiving dinner using recipes supplied by a local food historian, Paul Courchaine. Turkey and pumpkin pie were on the menu, along with venison pie, roast goose, roast pork, butternut squash, creamed onions, pottage of cabbage, onions and leeks, and Indian pudding, made from cornmeal and spices.
In a bow to contemporary tastes, several wines were served at the museum but not the one Americans were likely to have drunk in the 18th century—Madeira, a high-alcohol-content wine fortified with brandy. Before the Revolution, Madeira, which came from the Portuguese-owned Madeira Islands, was considered a patriotic beverage, since it was not subject to British taxation. It was Washington's favorite drink.
Washington was keenly aware of his role as a model for future presidents. He once remarked that "There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not be hereafter drawn into precedent." That included his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789, which set the standard for Thanksgiving Proclamations by future presidents, a list that included James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, and then every president up to the present day.
The tradition begun by George Washington has survived without further controversy. Since the original debate in the House in September 1789, no member of Congress has complained that Thanksgiving proclamations are too European, a violation of the separation of church and state or, most especially, not what the American people want.
Ms. Kirkpatrick, a former deputy editor of the Journal's editorial page, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. She is the author of "Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad" (Encounter Books, 2012)


  1. Make of it what you may but there is not much ambiguity in the words of President George Washington.

  2. :) There's just something about South Carolina.

    Deuce, Thank you for all the posts, and giving us a place to hang out, and . . . . . whatever it is we do.

    1. As for George Washington, he was definitely the "Indispensable" man.

      And, a pretty damned good politician, and businessman.

    2. Jefferson was a terrible business man. John Adams so so.

  3. And apparently a "believer."

  4. Actually, I think he was more of a "Deist" than a Pentecost.

    1. And, as I said, a better than average politician.

    2. Obviously, he was not a Diest.

    3. Theist, if not Christian. Kind of God you can pray to, say thanks to.

      Let us now all join Rufus on our knees for a prayer of thanks.

  5. You'll notice, he made references to God, and Science, but none to Jesus Christ.

    While most of those guys we refer to as the "Founding Fathers" would have probably, in polite company, described themselves as "Christians," you don't see many cases in which they were thumping the Bible, and expounding on Jesus Christ. (not to say it never happened, just that the books aren't full of it.)

    1. Rufus
      I really don't think you have any idea what you are talking about. Happy Thanksgiving. Everything I "have" has been given to me through the grace of Jesus Christ, and I am most thankful and very humbled by it.

  6. You like Thomas Jefferson, Ruf. You ought to read the Jefferson Bible some day. A redacted version of the Gospels, it omits the 'miraculous' elements and combines chronologically elements of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John into a single narrative. Used his razor to cut and paste, not having a computer. Not exactly a scholarly work, it is a little dated these days but was quite original for its time. You might actually find it interesting.

  7. There is no question that he was a believer in God, country and the constitution.

  8. “We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus.”

    - John Adams and John Hancock

    “The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” – John Adams

    “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

    - John Adams

    “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

    - John Adams

    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    - John Adams

    “I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.”

    - John Adams

    “The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.”

    - John Adams

  9. Damn!, our nation was almost founded on the Bible of the Jews, most particularly the 'old' Testament.

    The Pilgrims and their grandsons, the generation of the American Revolution, based their arguments for liberty on three books of the Hebrew Bible. First is Genesis: God creates man in his image. One God, one original man. All men are equally created by God, equally have a soul, are equally in God's image, are equal.

    Second, Exodus: Jews were plucked from slavery in Egypt as God's chosen people. The Pilgrims and later the founding generation often used both these elements -- that God chooses freedom, and that God can choose one people to be the moral leaders for freedom. They identified with the ancient Jews as the chosen people, and it gave them great courage -- to come to America in 1620 and, in 1776, to defy the most powerful nation on earth to win their political independence.

    Lastly, in the Book of Judges, the Bible explicitly contradicts the divine right of kings, saying that God's laws are superior to the power of any tyrant.

    from the dreaded American Thinker

    On arrival on our shores, the Pilgrims offered up Psalm 100 in praise and thanks: Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Our Pilgrim forefathers started the most wonderful country in the history of the world, through their courage, independence, freedom of thought, hard work, and charity. Let us all express our limitless thanks.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

  10. Just so we don't get too carried away with "Man-Worship:"

    As president, following the transfer of the national capital to Pennsylvania in 1790, Washington brought eight slaves to work for him in the President's House in Philadelphia, where state law would have automatically granted freedom to any slaves who had resided in the state for more than 6 months. He circumvented that provision of the law by maintaining that he was not a Pennsylvania resident and ensuring that neither he nor any of his slaves stayed in the state for more than six months at a time.[184] When one of the slaves, a personal attendant to Martha, escaped, Washington complained that the slave had fled "without the least provocation," and he secretly sent agents to hunt her down. Martha urged Washington to advertise a reward for her capture, but, wanting to avoid any public knowledge of the episode, he chose not to. When the escaped former slave was spotted in New Hampshire, she said that she would agree to return out of affection for the Washington family, but only if they would guarantee her freedom, a proposal the Washingtons refused. They were still trying, surreptitiously, to recapture her two years later.[

  11. As for your points about Adams, there being more evidence about John Adams, the reason why is Adams was verbose. The fact is that we don't have much evidence about Washington's thinking on religion or most other matters. You can't take the absence of such rhetoric to make a case that George Washington was not a Christian.

    1. I'm quite sure GW was a "Christian" (he was a free-mason, after all.) I just doubt that he was overly-fervent in his religiosity.

    2. John Adams is a favorite of my wife.

      Less than a month before his death, John Adams issued a statement about the destiny of the United States, which historians such as Joy Hakim have characterized as a "warning" for his fellow citizens. Adams said:

      My best wishes, in the joys, and festivities, and the solemn services of that day on which will be completed the fiftieth year from its birth, of the independence of the United States: a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.[104]


  12. The American colonists, as the ancient Greeks, had many degrees of enslavement based on work, discipline and personal welfare, shelter and feeding. This is not an apology but contextual. The quality of life is always a matter of the times in which they were lived. I dare say that there was a far narrower gap between Washington and his slaves than there are between contemporary New York societal elite of any color, and many in the hoods of North Philadelphia.

    1. I suppose it all depends upon the value that one puts on "freedom," eh?

  13. So lets hear nothing else about this country not being founded on Christian principles.

    Gag will be spending most of the day with family, friends, football, and lots of good food and drink.

    1. Polonius:

      This above all: to thine own self be true,
      And it must follow, as the night the day,
      Thou canst not then be false to any man.
      Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

      Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

      Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 78–82

    2. Some need the threat of a whip. Others are inner directed.

  14. Last year's pardoned turkey, 'Peace', gets a taste of ObamaCare :)

    By: Mike M. Ahlers, CNN Senior Producer

    Washington -- Peace, one of two turkeys pardoned by President Obama last year, was euthanized Monday, according to an official who insisted the timing of the death - days before the Thanksgiving holiday - was not suspicious.

    Rebecca Aloisi, vice president for marketing at the Mount Vernon Estate, confirmed that Peace had been dead after a weekend "illness." But Aloise knew neither the nature of the illness, the manner of death, nor what had been done with the remains of the large, edible bird.

    "I appreciate where you're going with this," Aloisi told CNN. "But I assure you that these birds are extremely well cared for." The decision to euthanize the bird was made by a veterinarian in consultation with Mount Vernon's livestock department, she said.

    Peace had served as the understudy for Liberty, another turkey, at the 2011 pardoning ceremony by President Obama. Obama chose to pardon both birds to spare them from the fate of the plate.

    But pressed on details about Peace's death, and what was done with the carcass, Aloisi deferred. "Honestly, I work in marketing," she said, defensively. "We have a 500-acre facility."

    The facility - historic home of President George Washington - includes a landmark mansion, farm, wharf and the Mount Vernon Inn.

    Read more:

    He had outlived his usefulness, was culled.

    1. :) You really are a dumbfuck.

      These birds are bred for their unnaturally large, tender breasts. Their average life expectancy is only a couple of years.

    2. We want to know, we demand to know what part the Obamacare Death Panel may played in the decision to euthanize this venerable senior citizen.

    3. .

      Latest scandal reported by the Enquirer, Obama's reported to have eaten "dead", "cooked" turkey.

      The victim, a young turkey ironically named 'Peace', was last reported seen walking the White House grounds about a year ago. Since its disappearance, little is known of where it has been or what has been done with it.

      Our sources report, that forensic experts where able to identify the victim by way of a presidential pardon that was buried along with a sack of giblets near the White House grounds. DNA of the giblets confirmed the victim was Peace.

      Police are hampered by the fact that no other remains have been found. However, a careful search of the dumpsite used by the waste removal company that services the White House turned up a bag of turkey bones. DNA test are currently being run.

      When questioned, the owner of waste disposal company, merely said, "Hey man, we just pick up the bags".

      White House spokesperson, Jay Carney, stated, "The charges are outrageous. I wouldn't dignify them with any further comments."

      The conspiracy of silence continues. The same day the crime was reported, the president and his family were whisked away for an unscheduled two week vacation at an undisclosed location in Indonesia. The rest of the Cabinet are reportedly away spending the Thanksgiving holiday with quote 'family and friends' and were unavailable for comment.

      This story will not go away. Senator John McCain, contacted at his Arizona estate, broke away from his Thanksgiving meal to speak to our reporters. "This news is troubling. I don't want to pre-judge what happened but we owe it to the American people to get to the bottom of it. When I get back to Washington in a week or two, or three, I will call for a Senate investigation of the facts of this case."


    4. Was the old bird afforded the Obamacare "End of Life" counseling?

  15. .

    Bless you boys, and girls.

    Happy Thanksgiving.


  16. Re: "Latest scandal reported by the ..."

    OMG - What have we come to?

    Eventually,the MSM will have to address this story just as eventually they had to cover the John Edward scandal.

    Thank God for the Enquirer.

  17. This is my turkey story from Sunday, two weeks ago. For some time wild turkeys have been make a significant comeback in Pennsylvania, especially in areas where there is little or no hunting. Wild turkeys are very dark, almost black in color.

    I was traveling on a busy four lane road that passes west of Philadelphia through an area that is residential, commercial as well as some light forest and park areas. Approaching the crest of a hill, at a traffic light, all traffic was stopped. People were milling around, some taking photos with their cell phones but nothing that I could see.

    Based on the direction people were facing, the attraction had to be no more than a car or two in front of me.

    As I looked for what was happening, I could see, one, two, three and then seven female wild turkeys and one very large male. A young tall girl with long black hair,wearing a black loose sweater, black tight pants and black leather boots was trying to shoo the birds off the road to safety.

    She was signaling with her hands and arms to stop traffic and then with open palms ahead of her, she would try and scoot the birds from the road. She also would wave her arms up and down at her sides.

    The turkeys were not leaving and she was laughing and kept up her gesticulations.

    I realized why her good intentions were not working.

    The female turkeys would not go anywhere except at the direction of the male and he kept turning, swelling out his chest, fluffing his feathers and raising his very impressive tail. The females would stop and the young tall girl in black would start waving her arms again to keep them moving.

    The male turkey was focused on this tall black figure in black, towering over him flapping her loose black sweatered arms and interpreted her as a huge rival male turkey trying to take his action. He was having none of it.

    I opened the car door and told the young woman that if she stopped waiving her arms they would probably leave. She did. They did. Everyone had a laugh and a smile and the turkeys went on to their business and we did as well.

    1. Or, he thought she wuz a big ol' hen, in heat, and he was trying to figure out . . . . . . . . . . :)

  18. .

    Good story, Duece.

    We have a lot of turkeys around here also. Every now and then we get a troop of them traipsing through the back yard. Drives the dogs crazy.

    And despite the WKRP episode, turkeys can fly.

    The retriever from next door went after a group of about thirty of them and the first thing they did was take to the air. Don't know how far they can fly but they disappeared over some trees 60-80 feet high.

    Dropping from 2000 feet, you would think they could glide for the first 1900 feet.



  19. Does anyone here know how to kick a football?

    If you do, I know where you might be able to find a job. :)

  20. Oh Happy Day

    If this one don't make you smile . . . . . :)

  21. Illinois's pension system is heading for a meltdown and may now be beyond help. That's the forecast from a Chicago business group, which told its members last week that the state's pension crisis "has grown so severe" that it is now "unfixable."

    The Commercial Club of Chicago wrote that because the November elections did not bring in lawmakers willing to push real reform, the state's roughly $200 billion debt now threatens education, health care and basic public services.

  22. Oh Lord, got something in my eye.

    I see Billy Jack is available for direct download on Netflix.

    I think I'll look at it again.

  23. Turkey's almost ready (hope I didn't mess it up) ;)

    I'll leave you with this

    14,000,000 Views - it must be pretty good

  24. Walking Away

    Encore: Paint it Black

    Music as a cultural reflection can't be underestimated. (Grunge came out of ultra-liberal Seattle - I'm still thinking about that one. NYC had Sex Pistols and Lou Reed, and NJ had Bon Jovi and Arrowsmith.)

  25. ... --- ... / ... --- ... / .. / .- -- / .- - / - .- .-. --. . - / - .-. .- -- .--. .-.. . -.. / -... -.-- / -.-. .-. --- .-- -.. / -... -.-- / .--. . .--. ... .. / -- .- -.-. .... .. -. . / .... . .-.. .--. / -- . / ... --- ... / ... --- ...

    1. -- -.-- / .... .. .--. / -- -.-- / .... .. .--. / ... --- ... / -- -.-- / .... .. .--. / -.-. .- -. / -. --- - / --. . - / ..- .--.

  26. ... .- ...- . -.. / -... -.-- / ..-. .. ...- . / -.-. .... .- -. - .. -. --. / -... ..- -.. -.. .... .. ... - / -- --- -. -.- ... / .. -. / --- .-. .- -. --. . / ... .- ..-. ..-. .-. --- -. / .-. --- -... . ... .-.-.- / -.-. .-. --- .-- -.. / .-. .. --- - . -.. .-.-.- / ... - --- .-. . / - .-. .- ... .... . -.. .-.-.- / - . .- .-. / --. .- ... / .. -. / .- .. .-. .-.-.- / --. ..- -. ..-. .. .-. . / -. --- .-- .-.-.- / .--. --- .-.. .. -.-. . / ... -. .. .--. . .-. ... .-.-.- / .- -- -... ..- .-.. .- -. -.-. . / - .- -.- .. -. --. / -- . / - --- / . -- . .-. --. . -. -.-. -.-- / .-. --- --- -- .-.-.- / --. .. ...- .. -. --. / - .... .- -. -.- ... .-.-.-

  27. Tracy Chapman and B.B. - good stuff!

  28. .. / .... .- ...- . / - .- .-. --. . - / ...- --- ..- -.-. .... . .-. / ..-. --- .-. / .- / ...-- ..--- -....- .. -. -.-. .... / .--. .-.. .- ... -- .- / - ...- / ..-. --- .-. / - .... .-. . . / .... ..- -. -.. .-. . -.. / -.. --- .-.. .-.. .- .-. ... .-.-.- / -.-. .- .-.. .-.. / . -- . .-. --. . -. -.-. -.-- / .-. --- --- -- / ... - / .-.. ..- -.- . .----. ... / .... --- ... .--. .. - .- .-..

  29. Doctor, lawyer, beggar man thief
    Philly Joe remarkable looks on in disbelief
    If you want a taste of madness, you'll have to wait in line
    You'll probably see someone you know on heartattack and vine

  30. Backbench MPs have gone on more than £1.5m of trips with all expenses paid by foreign governments, pressure groups and companies in little over two years, The Independent can reveal. Several MPs have spent months out of the country on foreign trips, sometimes while Parliament is sitting, while many of those funding the visits have a vested interest in lobbying MPs.


    The findings show that:

    * One in five Conservative backbench MPs had been taken on trips to Israel and Palestine since 2010 – the majority paid for by pro-Israeli lobbying groups. In total 79 MPs have been funded to visit the region at an approximate cost to their hosts of more than £130,000.

    * Saudi Arabia paid £36,000 to take 12 MPs on a four-day trip to Riyadh. MPs have also accepted £41,000 worth of trips to Azerbaijan.

    * MPs have been on 36 visits to China and Hong Kong, 23 visits to India and 34 visits to the US since the general election, but only one MP has accepted a trip to Afghanistan and only two MPs have visited Belgium. Six MPs have been on trips to Australia, five to Brazil and three to the Cayman Islands.

  31. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has issued an order preventing any court from overturning his decisions, essentially allowing him to run the country unchecked until a new constitution is drafted, his spokesman announced on state TV Thursday.

    Morsy also ordered retrials and reinvestigations in the deaths of protesters during last year's uprising against strongman Hosni Mubarak. That could lead to the reprosecution of Mubarak, currently serving a life prison term, and several acquitted officials who served under him.

  32. Hi, really this blog makes me to emotional, while seeing the clip...thanks for the thankgivig blog ....

    Get Instagram Followers

  33. I used to be suggested this website by my cousin.
    I am no longer sure whether this submit is written by him as no one else
    realize such specified about my problem. You're amazing! Thank you!

    Feel free to visit my web blog - kitchen in northern virginia