BENEDICT ARNOLD

231 years ago today Benedict Arnold let his anger and desperation make him do the unthinkable.  In today’s hard times, many people are looking to get out of bad situations and it is sometimes a struggle to know how to do that.  Keep your head up, try to look at the glass half full, surround yourself with helpful people, and always stay true to yourself…. These are things that Benedict Arnold did not do.

During the American Revolution, American General Benedict Arnold was an American hero.  On September 21, 1780 Arnold created a plan to work with British forces.   Benedict Arnold became synonymous with the word “traitor.”

Arnold was born January 14, 1741 into a well-respected family in Norwich, Connecticut.  He joined the Continental Army when the Revolutionary War broke out between Great Britain and its 13 American colonies in 1775.  Arnold helped in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, distinguished himself in campaigns at Lake Champlain, Ridgefield and Saratoga and was making a great name for himself.  In 1777 five men of lesser rank were promoted over Arnold and over the next few years he married for the second time.  Arnold and his wife lived a very lavish lifestyle and accumulated substantial debt.

The debt and the resentment of being overlooked in a promotion where motivating factors in Arnold’s choice to become a traitor.

In 1780 Arnold was given command of West Point in New York.  Arnold contacted the head of the British forces, and proposed handing over West Point and his men in exchange for a large sum of money and a high position in the British Army.  When he met with Major John Andre to finalize the pact, his plan was foiled.  Arnold fled to the enemy side and went on to lead British troops in Virginia and Connecticut.

 

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3 responses to “BENEDICT ARNOLD

  1. This is why I love your blog. Always an interesting lesson to be learned. I think the “surround yourself with helpful people” item is the most important on your what-to-do list. Many hands make light work? A problem shared is a problem halved? Bread always falls butter side down? 🙂 Whatever the common expression, it was nice to read your post and start the day with a nice does of encouragement.

  2. I would argue that in addition to Arnold’s wounded pride and weak character, his wife had a great deal to do with his treason. Arnold had remarried after his retirement for “medical reasons” in 1778. His new wife was the socialite daughter of a British sympathizer. Trying to live up to her standards left him in dire financial straits at home and under pressure in the community. His wife’s continued and frequent personal contacts on the British side helped to facilitate early communication for the treasonous plot. Once he was revealed and had escaped, Arnold did write to Washington to have his wife granted safe passage to her family in Philadelphia. Washington granted the wish but tried to exchange Major Andre for Arnold so as to bring justice to the person he saw as the greater villain.

    Historians have long disagreed over the character of Arnold in his early life. Many of those tales may be the result of the demonization he was subject to after his treason. However, the trail of lawsuits, accusations, and financial settlements that occurred after the war may just indicate that the man felt that after treason there were no standards left to uphold. He even fathered a bastard child and only aknowledged him after death.

    Whatever his stated reasons or our imperfect understanding of his actions, the life of Benedict Arnold stands as a cautionary tale that “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

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