Benedict Arnold: Unscrupulous Traitor or Unsung Hero?
Benedict Arnold's reputation as a traitor instead of a skilled warrior and confidante of George Washington, has become accepted history in the minds of Americans living hundreds of years removed from our founding. But that's too simple a story.
The Revolution was a chaotic time. Congress was in constant battle with the military and feelings ran high over whether power should reside in the states or the federal government.
The war took a toll on the men who fought this bloody and protracted war. Leadership was often ineffective, greed was rampant, and militias fought without pay, few provisions, and little training. Family farms were looted and destroyed, the economy collapsed, and the Native Americans usually fought for the British.
Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country, fighting against friends and former comrades. He was impetuous and quick to anger. He also fought valiantly for the Revolution, often turning the tide toward America in decisive battles. Yet, he got little respect, less pay, and was a target of a politicized Congress.
Is it time to take another look at Benedict Arnold and the Revolution that birthed America?
This show originally aired on June 16, 2016.
- Nathaniel Philbrick - Author of In the Heart of the Sea; Mayflower; and Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution
- Eric Lehman - Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at University of Bridgeport; author of Homegrown Terror: Benedict Arnold and the Burning of New London
- Brad Meltzer - Author of The Inner Circle; The Book of Fate; and The House of Secrets
Colin McEnroe, Chion Wolf, and Greg Hill contributed to this show.