A New Identity

Alline's message created a new identity for the people of Nova Scotia. Prof. Gordon Stewart states that, "Alline had helped to transform, in Nova Scotia, traditional religious values into an ideological commitment that cut off the Yankees from the new republic." (Stewart & Rawlyk p191). This new identity transformed the Yankees of Nova Scotia, into Nova Scotians. The once scattered colony was now a colony which could function independently as a society with distinct attitudes, values and goals. (Ibid 48). The American Revolution went against what they believed in. They were not American revolutionaries, rather they were an independent society which operated on different values and ideologies. These new values and ideologies were created as a result of Henry Alline and the Great Awakening.

If the revivalists in Nova Scotia were truly to live a Christ-like life in the midst of world chaos, then it would be imperative that they abstain from a "most inhuman war." As stated earlier, Alline not only provided the colony of Nova Scotia with a new identity, he also provided the colony with a new sense of purpose. His purpose for the colony came from the emphasis on religious conversion. Alline emphasized the role of conversion as "so great" and that the convert should easily distinguish his new status from that of the sinful part of mankind (Ibid 164). This "new life" provided the people of Nova Scotia with a special role: They were to be the "salt of the Earth, and the light of the world." This was the message that Alline delivered to the revival supporters as he extended his travels throughout Nova Scotia (Ibid 166). Alline had viewed the Nova Scotia Yankees as a people chosen by God and sheltered by God from the dangers of war (Ibid 175).. Their new purpose was to be the "light unto the world." How could they achieve this purpose by going about fighting against or for the British? They were to live Christ-like lives and be a witness unto the rest of the colonial world. As Gordon Stewart has suggested, "the task facing the followers of the revival was to extend His kingdom." (Ibid 165). If the Nova Scotian's were to be a "light unto the world" and were to extend God's kingdom, then they had to withdraw from the "promiscuous crowd" (Ibid 165). The withdrawal from the American Revolution was the road along which the Nova Scotian's withdrew from the "promiscuous crowd."