The National Thanksgiving Proclamation was the first formal proclamation of "Thanksgiving in America.
The first proclamation was issued by "John Hancock as "President of the Continental Congress on March 16, 1776. The following year, the "Continental Congress issued a similar proclamation on November 1, 1777.
President "George Washington made this proclamation on October 3, 1789 in "New York City. The initiative for the proclamation originally came from the House of Representatives, though support was hardly unanimous. Some representatives objected that such imitations of European practices would make a mockery of genuine expressions of prayer and thanksgiving, while others objected that expressions of gratitude are private matters that the federal government has no business mandating. Nevertheless, a majority prevailed favoring a presidential proclamation, and President Washington noted that "both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested [him] 'to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer.'" It was formally declared on November 26 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."
The Continental Congress issued National Thanksgiving Day Proclamations in 1777, 1779, 1780, 1781, and 1782. 
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