Acton Lecture Series: Abraham Lincoln's Moral Constitution
People have wondered just how much Abraham Lincoln himself was under God when he said that this nation should consider itself as such as it strove for a new birth of freedom. After all, Lincoln has been the only president (along with Thomas Jefferson) never to have formally joined a church.
What did shift, however, the ground decisively under Lincoln's feet was the experience of the Civil War. He discovered in the cauldron of war that God was not merely a remote force or a faceless universal power, but a personal, intelligent, and willing God who intervened in the affairs of men, to direct them in ways that they could not even begin to imagine. This was a God whom he wanted his nation to be under.