On Feb. 10, 1864, a contingent of clergymen from Xenia, Ohio, and Sparta, Ill., prevailed on President Abraham Lincoln and Congress to amend the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, redefining America as a “Christian” nation.

In his 2006 book, “American Gospel,” Jon Meacham refers to historian Morton Borden’s account of the meeting, during which Lincoln graciously promised to examine the clergy’s request, but reminded them that amending the Constitution was no easy undertaking — then allowed it to die a natural death.

Much has been debated about the faith of Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is today — but what did he really believe?

“So much has been said about him, it’s sometimes hard to separate man from the myth,” said William Cunion, chairman of the political science department at the University of Mount Union in Alliance. “It’s not exactly clear where he stood. People want to make Lincoln their own so there’s a tendency to align him with their beliefs, but he leaves enough ambiguity that it’s not possible.”

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