What does it mean to call someone a “Benedict Arnold”?

What does it mean to call someone a “Benedict Arnold”?

Shortly after the Revolutionary War broke out in April of 1775, Benedict Arnold set out as captain of the Connecticut Militia Company to join the Continental Army in Massachusetts. Together with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, Arnold captured Fort Ticonderoga in New York from the British and, later, led a grueling expedition to Quebec. Although the subsequent battle was ultimately unsuccessful, Arnold was promoted to brigadier general. But over time, his interactions with other officers became increasingly strained and often contentious, and allegations of misconduct began to surface.

By February of 1777, Arnold began to feel slighted by Congress when several junior officers were promoted ahead of him. He received a promotion to major general in May, but was denied the seniority he felt he deserved, and, in July, he submitted his resignation. Convinced by George Washington to reconsider, Arnold once again joined the Continental forces, where he proved instrumental in thwarting the British siege of Fort Schuyler and later displayed considerable bravery in charging the British in the Battle of Saratoga—resulting in General Burgoyne’s surrender days later.

In May of 1778, Arnold was appointed military governor of Philadelphia, where he began socializing with many Loyalists and maintaining an extravagant lifestyle well beyond his means. He was soon accused of using his military office for personal gain and was faced with misconduct charges and a court-martial. Laden with debt, embittered by Congress’s refusal to reimburse him for war expenses paid out of pocket and angered by what he believed to be ingratitude for his service to the country, Arnold began negotiating with British officers to defect. On September 21, 1780, Arnold struck a deal with Major John Andre to hand over the American fort at West Point in exchange for £20,000 and a command in the British army. Unfortunately for Arnold, Major Andre was intercepted days later with letters revealing his involvement and the treasonous plot was foiled. Shortly after Arnold’s desertion, Sergeant Major John Champe embarked on an elaborate double-agent spy mission to bring him to justice, but the plan was stymied at the last minute and Arnold escaped.

Benedict Arnold died in London in 1801—despised by his former countrymen and erased from Revolutionary War monuments—but his name lives in infamy in American history, synonymous with the word “traitor.”


These Days, Everyone Dares Call It Treason

American turncoat Benedict Arnold persuades Maj. John Andre to conceal papers in his boot and send them to the British to enable them to capture West Point in this print by C.F. Blauvelt and W. Wellstood circa 1785.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

Hurling around a word like "treason," the Chicago Sun-Times has observed, "is the definition of dirty politics."

If that be the case, this particular political season is dirtier than a West Texas hog wallow.

America's state religion is patriotism, a phenomenon which has convinced many of the citizenry that 'treason' is morally worse than murder or rape.

The word is being bandied about by lots of people. Perhaps most famously: Republican presidential aspirant Rick Perry said in Iowa in August that the fact that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is "printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous — treasonous, in my opinion."

In response, Nouriel Roubini of New York University — according to Politico — shot back: "Perry's remarks on Bernanke are criminal."

Jon Huntsman, another Republican presidential wannabe, also objected to Perry's use of the incendiary word, telling ABC News, "I'm not sure that the average voter out there is going to hear that 'treasonous' remark and say that sounds like a presidential candidate, that sounds like someone who is serious on the issues."

Then, lo and behold, Huntsman turned around and used the word himself a few weeks later in the CNN/Tea Party Express debate, "For Rick to say that you can't secure the border I think is pretty much a treasonous comment."

Politics

America's Love Affair With Nationalism

Politicians and public figures of all stripes — including Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Democratic senatorial candidate Alexi Giannoulias of Illinois and independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York — have hurled the word in the past year.

To many, it is among the vilest of charges. Statements like those by Perry "trivialize the crime of treason," says Washington attorney Debbie Hines, creator of the LegalSpeaks blog. "Treason is the highest offense committed against our country by someone attempting to overthrow it or giving aid to our enemies, punishable by death. A treasonous act is so severe that liberties should not be taken lightly or loosely when using the term."

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (right) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry confer during a break in the Sept. 12 presidential debate in Tampa. Huntsman first objected to Perry's use of the word "treasonous" then later used it himself.

Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (right) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry confer during a break in the Sept. 12 presidential debate in Tampa. Huntsman first objected to Perry's use of the word "treasonous" then later used it himself.

After all, as Justice William O. Douglas once opined, treason "is the worst crime of all."

However, in this particular society — open, self-governing and relatively tolerant of hype and hyperbole — the charge of treason is so difficult to prove, the word loses its meaning and its might.

So why do politicians call each other traitors and treasonous? And why is the word still so supercharged?

A Matter Of Trust

The word has its origins in an old French word meaning "betray." It's the same word that "traitor" comes from. Calling someone a "traitor" or their actions "treasonous" is a quick way to peg them as un-American, or at least, not as American as the accuser.

It is the only crime defined in the U.S. Constitution: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Treason, says Brian Carso, is a word that "has always been used as a prominent shorthand to evoke the intellectual and emotional content surrounding issues of loyalty, allegiance and betrayal."

Carso, an assistant professor of history and government at Misericordia University in Dallas, Pa., is the author of Whom Can We Trust Now?: The Meaning of Treason in the United States, from the Revolution through the Civil War.

Beyond Benedict Arnold

In the history of the U.S. there have been about 40 actual prosecutions for the crime of treason. Benedict Arnold may be the most well-known case, but the list of accused traitors over the years also includes:

Aaron Burr. The 1807 trial of former Vice President Burr — showcasing some of the country's finest minds, including Burr, Marshall and Thomas Jefferson — ended in acquittal, partially because of the two-witness stipulation.

Iva Ikuko Toguri, also known as Tokyo Rose. This Japanese American broadcast propaganda messages during World War II designed to demoralize American troops. She was tried in 1949 and convicted. She served seven years in prison and was eventually pardoned by President Gerald Ford.

Mildred Gillars, also known as Axis Sally. Another propagandist — who broadcast in Nazi Germany — Gillars was convicted of treason in 1949 and served 12 years in prison.

Adam Yahiye Gadahn. In 2006 the Justice Department indicted Adam Gadahn, a Californian who signed up to be a propaganda expert for al-Qaida.

The definition of the crime is in the Constitution "primarily because allegiance is a necessary precondition of government, and treason law is one way to define allegiance," Carso explains. "Secondarily, in a free society that depends on disagreement and debate for self-government, the restrictive nature of the treason clause helps to prevent oppression."

Despite its simple meaning, treason is one of the most difficult crimes to prosecute, according to legal scholars. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the longest single opinion of his 35 years on the bench, Carso says, grappling with the full ramifications of the one-sentence definition.

'Worse Than Murder Or Rape'

Since its inclusion in the U.S. Constitution, there have only been about 40 actual prosecutions. The greatest example of treason in this country and "part of the U.S. creation story," Carso adds, "is the betrayal of Washington and the Patriot cause by Benedict Arnold in 1780."

Today, accusations of treason fly about with alacrity and acidity. Writer William Blum has noted that "America's state religion is patriotism, a phenomenon which has convinced many of the citizenry that 'treason' is morally worse than murder or rape."

But armed with the understanding that the receiver of the epithet — traitor or treasonous — will most likely never actually have to actually stand trial, politicians use the term with abandon in an exaggerated, hyperbolic way.

"Until the average American citizen can talk about abstract ideas like political obligation — which will not be anytime soon, presumably," Carso says, "then we will continue to hear 'treason' as a way to conjure people's deep-seated feelings toward their sense of national identity."


Letters to the Editor: Donald Trump is a traitor on par with Benedict Arnold and Jefferson Davis

To the editor: The three biggest traitors in American history are Benedict Arnold, Jefferson Davis and Donald Trump.

The first two failed to destroy our republic. As I read the news of the insurrection in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, I can only wonder what damage has been done by the third.

Victor Leipzig, Huntington Beach

To the editor: I watched in horror as a treasonous mob attacked the U.S. Capitol. This is what happens in banana republics. Thanks to the terrible tweets from President Trump saying that the election results are fraudulent (they were not), many of his supporters feel cheated, which they were not.

Trump must be held accountable for his seditious behavior if we are to maintain our democracy.

As an immigrant from Europe, I came here 40 years ago believing that America was the greatest democracy in the world. We are now on the brink of civil war.

The country is now reaping the whirlwind of the 2016 election and we are seeing what happens when you elect a president who only does things in his own self-interest.

Paul Sunderland, Los Angeles

To the editor: In my nearly 90 years, I have never seen such a display of garbage. We are again acting like a third-world country.

Because of the words and actions of a wannabe dictator, the votes of nearly 81.3 million people are being ignored. The fact is, Trump was beaten and he cannot accept the fact that he lost. We just do not want him anymore.

When you have government officials threatened with kidnaping and demonstrations against our Constitution, you have officially arrived at third-world status. Our Constitution is at stake and the Republican Party is destroying it.

I’ve voted for people from all parties, but I will never vote for a Republican again. Right now, I am so ashamed to be an American, something I have been so proud of all my life.

Ardyce Martin, Banning

To the editor: Congress does not typically act very quickly. However, it has two weeks to impeach and convict Trump. He has done enough damage to this country and should not have the opportunity to do more.

If convicted, he could never run again for office. The man needs to be removed from our government and should never have the right to do more damage.

What he has done is despicable.

Mike Reardon, Fallbrook

To the editor: We have now hit bottom.

Trump’s most loyal followers have violently invaded the heart of our government. Trump has done nothing to stop this and in fact has inspired his followers through word and deed to perform an act more akin to a dictatorship than the greatest democracy in the history of the world.

Three things should be done immediately.

First, call all lawmakers to end the charade perpetrated by the senators who objected to ratifying states’ electoral votes. They must immediately finalize the 2020 election results.

Second, bring a bill of impeachment against Trump for failing to defend the Constitution.

Third, Vice President Mike Pence must bring the members of the Cabinet together to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump as president of the United States.

This is the only way to bring this sordid chapter in our nation’s history to an end. We owe it to the people to begin the healing now.

Jay Slater, Los Angeles

To the editor: Trump encouraged his followers to try to overthrow our government. This man either needs to be confined to a locked institution or more reasonably arrested and tried for treason.

Trump’s incitement is treason against our country. The time to keep looking the other way and pretending it isn’t so serious is long past.

Christin Rubesh, Port Hueneme

To the editor: Pence and a majority of the principal Cabinet members should invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump immediately for sedition.

No president, who incites a mob of people as Trump did with his continuing lies about a stolen election, should remain in office for another minute. He is clearly unable to perform his duties as president — duties that require respect for the Constitution and the rule of law

After the chaos of Jan. 6, achieving a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress should not present a problem.

Susan Corey Everson, Thousand Oaks

To the editor: There is at least one way in which this is worse than the 9/11 attacks.

What happened on Jan. 6 was done by home-grown American terrorists. I have no use, no sympathy, no empathy and absolutely not one iota of respect for them.

Trump issued a statement to calm the rioters in which he said he loved them and called them special. How vile and disgusting.

I don’t love them. They’re special like everyone who has entered a school and mowed down innocent children, everyone who burned a church to the ground, and everyone who sold American secrets to our enemies.

What a sad day for Americans.

James Himes, Hacienda Heights

To the editor: How far down is the United States going to sink?

Four years ago, we elected a new president, and the losing candidate moved on. Now, that president is showing the same character that was the butt of jokes for decades.

The events of Jan. 6 demonstrate we have become a third-world country. We are decimating an election process that worked for centuries.

Is anyone really surprised? Embarrassing doesn’t even begin to describe how this nation now looks to a large portion of the rest of the world.

Anne Wimberley-Robinson, Oceanside

To the editor: I am outraged that the rioters are being “escorted out” of the Capitol they need to be arrested and charged. They have used force and violence to invade the Capitol in order to “influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion,” which is the definition of domestic terrorism under federal law.

As I write, they have for the time being succeeded in preventing the peaceful transfer of power, just as Trump intended.

Enough is enough. The incoming Biden administration needs to ensure that the rioters who can be identified are charged, beginning with the man who incited these acts of domestic terrorism: Donald Trump.

Mitchell Zimmerman, Palo Alto

To the editor: I think, in light of Trump’s speech and subsequent Capitol violence, political cartoonists should portray Trump underneath a version of the infamous question posed to Sen. Joseph McCarthy: Mr. President, at long last, have you left no sense of decency?

To the editor: At a fundraiser in September 2016, Hillary Clinton said the following:

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

I think I know who’s now saying, “I hate to say I told you so.”

To the editor: Why didn’t the mob that invaded the Capitol get shot or killed by police, as countless unarmed Black men have been for selling cigarettes, and as Black boys have been while playing with toy guns?

Mary Weaver, Studio City

To the editor: Where were the police and military in full riot gear — the same ones that met peaceful Black Live Matter protests? If the rioters were socialist or Black, they’d be cleaning blood off the Capitol floor right now.

The photo of a rioter on the dais of the Senate will be a fitting symbol of Trump’s presidency.

This putsch is an embarrassment to our nation. We are now in the column of “shithole countries” that this president notoriously complained about thanks to the rhetoric of this vile man.

Isaac Hirschbein, La Mesa

To the editor: Let’s make no mistake about what Trump incited.

The violence and incursion into the nation’s legislative buildings were not a protest of policy. It was a protest against the means by which policy is made. It was a protest against democracy, a protest against the fundamental values of the nation.

It was authoritarian behavior instigated by an autocratic president and ambitious Republicans. Their protest desecrated the flag they carried. It was not an American protest, but a protest in support of tyranny.


Talk:Benedict Arnold

Should Arnold's article be in British or American English? While its obvious in some cases what should be used, say William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe or George Washington, this is more problematic when it comes to Americans fighting for the Crown or British/Irish fighting for Independence (and there were a lot) as they could be claimed by either country.

IMHO, I've always considered it to be linked to their choice of nations. (eg. Charles Lee, John Paul Jones or Horatio Gates should be in American English despite their British birth given their obvious preference for independence while Joseph Galloway, William Franklin and Oliver De Lancey showed their support for the Crown and became fully British by their residence in that country. Its also possible Benedict Arnold is the exception to the rule: given that he is far better known in the US than in Britain, he could be considered a more American than British topic. On the other hand, he made a concious choice to fight for Britain during the war, and later settled there. Many of his children served in the British military and considered themselves indisputably British. It seems that some sort of criteria needs to be established in this and other similar cases.

Obviously, this is all complicated by the fact that the seperation of national identiy was a tricky issue at the time. Phineas Lyman, for instance, likely died considering himself both British and American. Lord Cornwallis (talk) 00:03, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

I'd say it's sufficiently ambiguous from a contemporary perspective that either would be acceptable (just like ARW events can be written either way). Slight bias toward American, however, because most of his legacy appears to reside here. Magic ♪piano 12:27, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree. Benedict was born in America, grew up in America, and spent a good portion of his career in America. Te article should be in American English. Some Random Whovian (talk) 23:29, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Benedict Arnold is literally used to call someone a traitor in the US, which is the basis for his notability in the US. Elsewhere he's a footnote of history. "Common topic" logic suggests we use American spellings. That man from Nantucket (talk) 04:11, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

It may be notable that there is at least one marker in the US that bears his name. A plaque in downtown Danvers, Massachusetts commemorates the stop that his expedition made there on their way to Canada. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.120.240.165 (talk) 00:13, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

If there is a source for this then it could go into the Tributes section. HairyWombat 04:16, 21 January 2012 (UTC) Later. I found a couple of sources, and one of them points to a further four markers. I will add these to the Tributes section. HairyWombat 00:17, 24 January 2012 (UTC) One thing not mentioned here (I added it to Benedict Arnold's expedition to Quebec) is the "Arnold Trail to Quebec" listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Magic ♪piano 00:33, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Severfal choices of words seem to reflect a negative attitude towards Arnold that is decidedly inappropriate. I have removed the word "cunning" and replaced it wiht th emore neutral "intelligent". Also Arnold was first recommended for command at West Point before his negotiations with Clinton, so it seems NPOV to suggest that treason was his only reason for wanting commmand at West Point. Imersion (talk) 18:20, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Arnold opened communication with Clinton in June 1779. The discussion in which Schuyler mentions the idea of giving Arnold West Point takes place in April 1780, well after Clinton's interest is established. Is there some other discussion of it (not mentioned here) that you are referring to? Magic ♪piano 19:04, 10 March 2012 (UTC) Further to this, the article still refers to Arnold's "plot", "scheme" etc — language that, in describing a less controversial figure, might be reasonably regarded as fair, but here smacks of editorialisation. — Muckapedia (talk) 12 e nov. 2014 11h23 (−4h)

Is there any evidence whatsoever that the subject was ever known in his own time as "Benedict Arnold V"? I have removed this anachronistic syntax, and I don't think it should be replaced without clear evidence that it is appropriate to Arnold's time. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 01:00, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

I construe that as a note from a genius-in-one's-own-mind who thinks random others besides King George V deserve a number in their names.
--Jerzy•t 19:37, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

I don't see any evidence that the signature image that's been used is actually his signature. His true signature is on this oath he signed, and it looks quite different. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.79.114.206 (talk) 14:54, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Good eyes! Looking at the image included it appears to have been traced from this page which makes it seem like a label rather than his signature. I'll ask the user who originally traced it to make the image here, but it seems safe to say that the signature you found is the correct one. If I have a chance I'll try to trace it in the next few days. a13ean (talk) 17:55, 5 December 2012 (UTC) The decoration under the signature was something common from what I know back in those days, and IMO the one I traced is pretty close minus that. But feel free to add the other one, I'll admit that my image was a but poorly done. – Connormah (talk) 23:55, 5 December 2012 (UTC) I think the svg looks good, we're just not sure if the text in the source image is a signature or just a label. a13ean (talk) 06:20, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Harvard's Benedict Arnold papers collection have numerous specimens of authenticated Arnold signatures, if anyone has the skills and time to convert these to a nice image file. Examples:

My favorite of these four is the last one. There are another 20 or so documents from Arnold there in addition to these I just grabbed the first four. TJRC (talk) 23:12, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Arnold received a commission as a brigadier general in the British Army, an annual pension of £360, and a lump sum of over £6,000.[4] He led British forces on raids in Virginia, and nearly captured Thomas Jefferson, and against New London and Groton, Connecticut, before the war effectively ended with the American victory at Yorktown. In the winter of 1782, Arnold moved to London with his second wife, Margaret "Peggy" Shippen Arnold. He was well received by King George III and the Tories but frowned upon by the Whigs. In 1787, he entered into mercantile business with his sons Richard and Henry in Saint John, New Brunswick, but returned to London to settle permanently in 1791, where he died ten years later.

Thanks for noticing, fixed. Magic ♪piano 19:37, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

The surname Arnold should be removed from the Peggy Shippen link. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.247.141.151 (talk) 20:27, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

I keep posting links to www.benedictarnold.info because I believe it's at least as informative as 90% of the Arnold sites on the web. For example, the ushistory.org link is allowed, yet that page looks like a fan site, is hosted by the "Independence Hall Association" which doesn't guarantee a lack of bias and takes advertising money, and doesn't provide more or better information. Yes, www.benedictarnold.info is a pro-Arnold site, but why should that disqualify it as a *link*? I'm not trying to post any of the actual material from the site--just a link. What is so horrible about a link with a different point of view?

Although one editor who deleted my link reached out to me, four other editors deleted without comment, and until now I didn't know how to plead my case. Deleting the link simply because of the sub-head "The Story You Were Never Taught in School" is unfair. The fact is: all that is taught about Arnold in high school and lower grades is his treason. People are largely ignorant of his important contributions to the American revolution. Without him, it would have failed. It's that simple, but never taught, and www.benedictarnold.info is the result of many months of research. I've read every book on www.benedictarnold.info's "Books" page (which I could have listed as a bibliography), and many articles. If you'd read all the books on the "Books" page, I'd bet you'd allow the link.

www.benedictarnold.info is not a fan site.

Thank you. MrPal1 (talk) 03:07, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

The Independence Hall Association, which operates ushistory.org, is non-profit organization affiliated with Independence Hall in Philadelphia, so it's not just a fan site some random person set up. A better extant link to attack would have been usahistory.info, which (like your site) has no obvious affiliation. I have scrubbed that and a number of other unsuitable and/or stale links from the list. Your link is not being rejected because you're a supporter of Arnold, or because it has a "different" point of view it's being rejected because it is editorially inappropriate (as you notice, in the opinion of several regular editors here), and doesn't (in my opinion) add something new and distinctive of value that isn't already here. Wikipedia has (largely because of me) a fairly thorough treatment of Arnold's positive contributions to the war effort. (And yes, I've read most of the non-fiction books on your book list, plus some that aren't on it.) Magic ♪piano 18:34, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

Mea culpa. I thought that since "Wikipedia's articles provide links designed to guide the user to related pages with additional information," you would include mine as a matter of integrity. Then, too, Wikipedia claims that "anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles, except in limited cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism." Intriguing that you consider my contribution "disruptive."

You might consider reading the guidelines relevant to your reply: WP:AGF and WP:NPA --TEDickey (talk) 14:17, 14 March 2015 (UTC) & Jerzy•t 21:45, 11 September 2017 (UTC) Not all WP conventions are as well thot thru as the --

one for sigs, but right now, i can't recall a situation that cried out for my tampering with a defective sig, as i just did above. Hubristically compensating for your hubris, i remain --Jerzy•t 21:45, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

There's no need to shout. I did not call your edits disruptive, User:North Shoreman did. I happen to disagree with him on that (snarky yes, disruptive no), but it's also off my point. Everyone is allowed to edit, but this does not mean that all material added is retained (see Wikipedia discussion pages and edit histories on any moderately controversial subject what you're doing his hardly unique). External links are a recurring problem, because lots of them are added for promotional purposes. Since you have not yet made a case that your site is somehow distinctive per the external links guidelines, or that "the author" (you are this anonymous author claiming copyright on the site, yes?) is some recognized authority, there is no particular reason to include it. Magic ♪piano 14:30, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

Your www.ushistory.org link has about a tenth of the material of www.benedictarnold.info. Where ushistory.org has a paragraph, benedictarnold.info has ten, and they are just as well-researched. So, which is more "distinctive"? The answer is obvious, and the ushistory.org link should be replaced by the benedictarnold.info link.

Volume of content doesn't enter into it. There is also no evidence of the research that went into your site, since you don't actually credit your sources. (For example, I was unable to find even a statement saying that the books listed on the book page were used in preparation of the site.) For all we know, you may have just rewritten and repackaged much of the content of the site from Wikipedia. Magic ♪piano 19:40, 17 March 2015 (UTC)

A kingdom ruled by little tin gods will not last.

The third paragraph includes the following: "Congress investigated his accounts and found that he was indebted to Congress after spending much of his own money on the war effort." If Arnold spent his own money on the war effort, isn't Congress indebted to him, rather than the other way around?

Theoretically, that's how it works. In practice, if you can't prove to Congress you spent your own money, it might just come to a different conclusion (as in, you spent its money on things it didn't authorize). Magic ♪piano 18:18, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

The article says he was convicted on two minor charges. Does anyone know of a source that goes into the court martial in more detail?That man from Nantucket (talk) 06:36, 22 June 2016 (UTC)


In the Popular Culture section, please add a reference to the song "Real Niggaz" by N.W.A and No Vaseline by Ice Cube. The gangsta rap group N.W.A. put out a diss track including the line “We started out wit too much cargo, so I’m glad we got rid of Benedict Arnold.” calling Ice Cube (lyricist and rapper) a traitor after he left the group due to financial disagreement and put out solo album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. After hearing the track, Ice Cube fired back with the well known diss track, No Vaseline, which included a lyric aimed at Dr Dre, "Ay yo Dre, stick to producin'. Callin' me Arnold, but you Been-a-dick".

I have just modified one external link on Benedict Arnold. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at <> ).

As of February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot . No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template <> (last update: 15 July 2018).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Benedict Arnold came up with the idea of faking death after seeing a skunk play dead when he walked towards it. Source: WikiHow 98.23.105.190 (talk) 16:51, 16 November 2016 (UTC)

Not done: as WikiHow is not a reliable source to back up your request, without which no information should be added to, or changed in, any article. - Arjayay (talk) 18:01, 16 November 2016 (UTC)

How could Arnold defect to the British Army when Arnold was infact a British citizen born in colonial America ? Britain did not recognize the United States until 1783 after the Revolutionary War ended. One could argue that Arnold regained his British citizenship by joining the British military after defecting to the Continental Army. Weren't American's in actuality rebelling against the British government ? Cmguy777 (talk) 01:44, 31 March 2017 (UTC)

According to Merriam-Webster, to defect is to "abandon one cause, party, or nation for another". Regardless of one's opinion on the citizenship status of the American Patriots (and, after 4 July 1776, Britain wasn't the only country that got a say in that), that's exactly what Arnold did. Also Britain didn't have citizens in the eighteenth century she had subjects. Binabik80 (talk) 21:08, 28 May 2017 (UTC) Yes. Arnold defected from England when he sided with the Americans, for that matter so did Washington. Since Arnold repatriated back to being an English subject, how can he then be said to have defected from the Americans ? I suppose one could say Arnold defected from Britian to America and then defected from America to Britain. Cmguy777 (talk) 04:22, 1 June 2017 (UTC) Here is another view. Washington could be considered a traitor to King George or committing treason against King George. And so could Arnold when he was in Washington's Army. One could say rather then defection that Arnold stopped committing treason. Cmguy777 (talk) 04:31, 1 June 2017 (UTC) One could say that, yes. But the important question here is, do reliable sources say it? I don't want to make a big deal out of this. I put in the article a sourced edit that Arnold was born a British subject. I did think it was worth discussion. I was trying to make the article neutral. I am not condoning Arnold's defection of Washingtion or the Revolutionary cause. I don't even know if historians have even discussed whether the colonists were "rebels", "traitors", or "revolutionaries". There were no birth certificates back then and so nationality seemed to be only determined by where you were born and who your parents were. Cromwell probably started the first "revolution". Washington started the second "revolution". This is only for discussion. Yes. Any edits in the article need to be sourced. Cmguy777 (talk) 01:36, 11 June 2017 (UTC) There is a 2016 book out by Nathaniel Philbrick, Valiant Ambition George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution This might be a good source addition to the article. Cmguy777 (talk) 02:14, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

It should be noted that Richard Nixon was not dead at the time of that episode's first airing96.3.56.173 (talk) 05:54, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

. So the 2nd Southern belle replies, "Well, mah husband really loves me, too, so what he bought ME was etiquette lessons, where they taught me how to say 'My, my, my!' instead of 'Fuck you, bitch!' "
--Jerzy•t 19:24, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

I have just modified 2 external links on Benedict Arnold. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

As of February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot . No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template <> (last update: 15 July 2018).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

"eventually died in 1761" would not be in the past tense if "in 1761 he would die". also it would be in natural order since the year you have to be in before you can die in that year. 2605:E000:9161:A500:F8FF:295F:5705:F1CE (talk) 13:10, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. — nihlus kryik ( talk ) 13:30, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

I just reverted a change in the birth and death dates in the sentence "His siblings were, in order of birth: Benedict (August 15, 1738 – April 30, 1739), Hannah (December 9, 1742 – August 11, 1803), Mary (June 4, 1745 – September 10, 1753), Absolom (April 4, 1747 – July 22, 1750), and Elizabeth (November 19, 1749 – September 29, 1755)." Lwoodiii had amended the dates for the first of these to Arnold's own birth and death dates. Since parents sometimes named subsequent children after a sibling that had already died (e.g. Salvadore Dali) I wonder if this was also the case here? A discussion here (though not a reliable source, which I'm the first to admit) suggests that this was not an entirely uncommon practice. (My apologies if I made a mistaken assumption!) JezGrove (talk) 19:36, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

Kudos for what sounds like an admirable catch! Would anyone who learns whether we discuss, underanother topic, instances of such a practice, make note of that both here and at a more longterm-suitable place, please? (Shift of topic, but loving P. D. Q. Bach is not the only reason for attention to J. S. Bach and his many brothers also named Johann.)
--Jerzy•t 21:14, 11 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the PDQ reply! JezGrove (talk) 21:37, 11 September 2017 (UTC)

I feel that the "Popular Culture" section could be heavily pruned and folded into the "Infamy in the United States" section. "The Cruel Boy" could be condensed to a sentence. While Benet's short story, "The Devil and Daniel Webster" is worth a sentence, I have a hard time seeing that episodes of The Brady Bunch, Scooby Doo, and Fairly Oddparents rise to the level of notability. As for the Simpson's Tree House episode, it's a parody of Benet's story, not an independent evoking of Arnold it therefore reads as derivative and repetitive. The whole thing reads like a disguised trivia section, and most of it is unsourced.

I suggest that we remove everything that does not have a secondary source which establishes its significance, in accord with the Wikipedia:In Popular Culture essay. As the resultant section would be quite brief, I further suggest that it be incorporated into the "Infamy in the United States" section, since that is what these pop culture references illustrate. Schoolmann (talk) 23:30, 16 January 2018 (UTC)

  • Well, maybe you can find more positive examples (or less "infamous" ones. ) and sources for them. Drmies (talk) 01:44, 17 January 2018 (UTC)
    • Maybe the person who thought a Pop Culture section was necessary could do that. Personally, I think that "Infamy in the United States" is the pop culture position on Benedict Arnold. Maybe few notable examples could be found because Arnold hasn't been that much of a pop culture figure for a long time.Schoolmann (talk) 16:43, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

    In the first sentence of the fourth para in the lede, pls change

    "Arnold mingled with Loyalist sympathizers in Philadelphia and married into one such family, to vivacious young Peggy Shippen"

    "Arnold mingled with Loyalist sympathizers in Philadelphia and married into one such family by marrying Peggy Shippen."

    "Vivacious" is a dubious and subjective characterisation. "Young" is an unnecessary term when the point being made relates to Arnold's changing allegience not his proclivities. It seems to be little more than an attempt to color the reader's judgement. She was two months shy of her 19th birthday when she married, certainly not young by the prevailing standards of the society in which she lived.

    Similarly, in the section "Plotting to change sides", pls change

    "The Shippen family was one of them, and he married their vivacious young daughter Peggy"

    "The Shippen family was one of them, and he married their daughter Peggy"

    Thx 121.44.184.234 (talk) 06:27, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

    Agreed, and Done. Thanks, ‑‑ El Hef ( Meep? ) 18:22, 20 January 2019 (UTC) No worries. Happy to help. 121.44.184.234 (talk) 07:06, 21 January 2019 (UTC)

    so, his fathers name is Benedict Arnold but he’s named after his great grandfather, also Benedict Arnold? The Time to Llama is Now (talk) 20:42, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

    I understand Arnold will be a touchy subject for Americans, but the introduction here is somewhat lacking in neutrality. Before Arnold was a traitor to the American Revolution he was a hero of the American Revolution, but you wouldn’t know that from the lead sentence. And before the was a Brigadier-General in the British Army he was a Major General in the American, so (per MILHIST#Biographies) the lead should convey the highest rank (in his case, both of them) that he achieved. The lead was changed from a fairly stable (and pretty neutral) version in May I've changed it back, and added some detail to round it out. I trust everyone is OK with that. Moonraker12 (talk) 23:36, 22 October 2020 (UTC)

    In the first paragraph "General George Washington had given him his fullest trust and placed him in command of the West Point, New York", the "the" is superfluous, or "West Point" requires further elaboration, e.g. "the West Point Fort, New York". Zumbruk (talk) 22:48, 6 December 2020 (UTC)

    Done. If someone wants to change the wording to elaborate on the fort, feel free to do so. For now I just removed the superfluous "the". PlanetJuice (talk • contribs) 02:14, 7 December 2020 (UTC)


    6 Genghis Khan

    Genghis Khan was a barely-coherent fount of animalistic violence, who tore across Asia with his horde of barbarians laying waste to every village in his path, killing the men, raping the women, eating the children, killing and raping the livestock, burning everything down then raping and eating the ashes, etc. Anything that fits under a modern white person's notion of "pillage," Khan did while laughing a guttural, jackal-like laugh.

    What would you think of a guy who brought all the gangs of South Central Los Angeles together into one happy community? Well, deepen the grudges by about a millennium and expand the whole thing to cover one and a half million square miles, and you've got the task Genghis Khan achieved before he was even famous.

    Back in the day, Mongolia was just a bunch of scattered nomadic tribes who would wander around, kill each other, wander around some more and basically be laughably irrelevant on a global scale. Then Genghis came along and united the entire clusterfuck in a couple of decades.

    And if you're wondering if his "peace talks" were conducted by a thousand burly men with clubs, sorry, Genghis was always more of a politician than a psychopath. He attracted the allegiance of other tribes by spreading the word that life under his rule was crazy awesome. He did away with the sacred Mongolian tradition of "Fuck the soldiers, just fuck 'em" by allowing defeated enemies to join, giving the men a share in the spoils of war and basing promotions on merit rather than politics. Soldiers had never been treated so well by a commander before, or if you think about it, since.

    So once he'd turned Mongolia into one big happy family, his next job was to keep them that way. He figured if the people were left to their own devices they'd get antsy and just drift back into the wandering around and killing each other for lack of a better idea, so he arranged activities to keep them organized, like massive hunts or conquering all of mainland Asia. Seriously, that's a leading theory, that Genghis had his armies invade everything in sight as some kind of team-building exercise. Beats the shit out of softball.

    Related: 5 Clever Movie Schemes You Didn't Realize Were Stupid


    Rittenhouse IRL Wasn't Like The 'Timeless' Version

    The reason for all of the time traveling on the NBC series Timeless is because of the actions of a secret organization called Rittenhouse. Yet, the Dec. 12 episode before the show went on hiatus revealed that Rittenhouse on Timeless is a person. And just like the rest of Timeless, David Rittenhouse is based on historical fact.

    When Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus traveled to New York in 1780 during the episode, "The Capture of Benedict Arnold," they actually teamed up with Garcia Flynn in an effort to take down Rittenhouse. Thanks to the key that Flynn got from Bonnie and Clyde in the previous episode, he discovered that the traitor Benedict Arnold was a founding member of Rittenhouse during the American Revolutionary War. From Arnold, Lucy, Wyatt, Rufus, and Flynn learned that the evil group Rittenhouse was formed by a man of the same name — David Rittenhouse.

    According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Rittenhouse was an American astronomer and inventor. As Timeless has noted, Rittenhouse really was a clockmaker. He is also believed to have built the first U.S. telescope. In 1780, when "The Capture of Benedict Arnold" episode takes place, Rittenhouse in real life was treasurer of Pennsylvania. Later, in 1792, President George Washington would appoint him to be the first director of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. The park and neighborhood Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia is named after him.

    Yet, Timeless' depiction and actor Armin Shimerman's portrayal of Rittenhouse is much less flattering than history's. As revealed by Rittenhouse's son John on Timeless (I could not find any historical evidence about whether or not he existed), Rittenhouse doesn't believe in democracy and thinks he and the people in his organization must rule over the common people. As Lucy said, Rittenhouse wants tyranny disguised as democracy.

    Beyond being an extreme elitist in Timeless, who thinks people who he regards as less than don't deserve to make their own choices, Rittenhouse is also racist and sexist — it was even implied he would rape Lucy. So, while it was slightly anticlimactic, Flynn killing Rittenhouse on Timeless during the Dec. 12 needed to be done. In real life, Rittenhouse lived until 1796.

    Despite being killed by Flynn, Rittenhouse's agenda most likely did not die with him since his organization is woven into the fabric of America's history on Timeless. Plus, his son John escaped from Flynn, meaning he could carry out his father's disgusting legacy. As I imagine that the organization Rittenhouse will still exist when Season 1 of Timeless continues on Jan. 16, at least it's some consolation to know the real Rittenhouse wasn't anything like his Timeless counterpart — with the exception of his love of clocks.


    The meaning and origin of the expression: Your name is mud

    In May 2010, BP tried to cap the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by plugging the leak with heavy mud. Had it worked, it might have given them some hope of limiting the damage to their reputation. As it didn't, the BP brand name is, more literally than most, mud. BP's CEO Tony Hayward has joined another villain of the collective American psyche, Dr. Samuel Mudd, who is widely reviled for his part in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

    Dr. Mudd gave medical help to John Wilkes Booth, who broke his leg while escaping after shooting Lincoln in 1865. Mudd was convicted of being Booth's conspirator, although the evidence against him was ambiguous and circumstantial, and many historians argue that he was innocent of any murderous intent. He has since been pardoned and there's even a Facebook site dedicated to salvaging his reputation.

    Actually, whether Dr. Mudd was innocent or not is of little consequence in regard to the origin of 'your name is mud', as it was in general circulation long before Lincoln was assassinated. This citation comes from John Badcock (a.k.a. 'J. Bee') in Slang: A Dictionary of the Turf, 1823:

    "Mud - a stupid twaddling fellow. ‘And his name is mud!’ e********d upon the conclusion of a silly oration, or of a leader in the Courier."

    If the phrase wasn't originally 'your name is Mudd', how did it originate?

    Mud is exhaustively defined in the OED as "soft, moist, glutinous material resulting from the mixing of water with soil, sand, dust, or other earthy matter". The word began to be used in a figurative sense as early as the 16th century to refer to things that were worthless or polluting. That usage was later extended to apply to people, as listed in the 1703 account of London's low life, Hell upon Earth:

    Mud, a Fool, or thick skull Fellow.

    For reasons that are difficult to fathom, 'mud' later began to be used as a general intensifier. In the 19th century there are many printed examples of 'as fat as mud', 'as rich as mud', 'as sick as mud' etc. The combination of meanings of 'decaying and worthless' and 'extremely' was enough for the association of it with someone's name to become an insult - hence 'your name is mud'.

    As something that is at one extreme end of the scale, like 'good' or 'stupid', mud features in many English phrases - 'dragged through the mud', 'mud in your eye', 'as clear as mud' etc. The one that BP has most cause to hope isn't true is 'mud sticks'.


    OTHER WORDS FROM hypocrite

    So if you’re a left-leaning politician who throws a leg over a rig, you’re setting yourself up as a weakling, or a hypocrite , or a reckless fool.

    In the local TV interview he did, Thomas juxtaposed McCarthy directly with another central California Republican in the House, David Valadao, as “ hypocrite s and heroes.”

    We all know that Republicans are indeed hypocrite s when it comes to debt and deficits.

    Democrats have accused Republicans of being hypocrite s, because of their refusal in 2016 to consider then-President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland.

    There’s even less reason for LGBTQ voters to support him, no matter what the hypocrite s at Log Cabin tell you.

    Does wildlife campaigner Prince Charles's hunting habit make him a hypocrite ?

    Arkansas Congressman Tom Cotton is a dangerous man and a hypocrite .

    Eric Cantor was a noxious, cookie-cutter, U.S. Chamber, GOP hypocrite .

    Therefore, if a liberal makes too much money advocating on behalf of the poor, she or he becomes a hypocrite .

    Your criticism of me as a hypocrite is lame, weak and not really thought out.

    The true man stands out in his native dignity and the gilding is rubbed off the hypocrite .

    Thou hypocrite , cast out first the beam out of thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

    But while she cared little for his adulations, she did not because of them consider him a scoundrel, nor necessarily a hypocrite .

    Three shall not enter Paradise—the scoffer, the hypocrite , and the slanderer.

    But in the priestly city, where education consists in being taught to play the hypocrite and to lie, traitors abound.


    Benedict Arnold’s image as arch-traitor gets a makeover

    Before he joined the British, Benedict Arnold was a staunch, dependable patriot. A new history explores his leadership during a critical battle.

    Before Benedict Arnold betrayed his country, he was a hero.

    The Battle of Valcour Island in 1776 that brought him to prominence is far less known than those fought in Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts in 1775. Arnold commanded the newly formed Colonial navy against British gunships on Lake Champlain in upstate New York. Author Jack Kelly’s thrilling book, “Valcour: The 1776 Campaign That Saved the Cause of Liberty,” aims to restore Valcour – and Arnold – to the status Kelly argues they deserve.

    By the summer of 1776, all but the most obdurate loyalists on the American continent knew that all-out war between Britain and the American Colonies had arrived. There had already been important confrontations, including the Continental Army’s surprising capture of Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain in May of 1775.

    The Continental Army’s subsequent invasion of the British province of Quebec hadn’t been as successful: In the spring of 1776, its forces had been driven south in defeat. Quebec’s royal governor, Gen. Guy Carleton, wanted to take control of Lake Champlain so the British could use it to access the Hudson River – thereby allowing him to link the British forces in Quebec with those already victorious in New York. If he could accomplish that, the Colonies in the north could be cut off from those in the south, and each could be crushed in turn to extinguish the rebellion.

    Lake Champlain was therefore the key, and all of Kelly’s main characters assembled there in 1776 knew it. On the British side was Carleton, a cautious, able soldier. And on the American side was Gen. Horatio Lloyd Gates, who, according to Kelly, “well understood that the line between a mob and an army is fragile, easily erased by defeat, discouragement, fear, and lack of leadership.”

    As Kamala Harris’ portfolio grows, so does the scrutiny

    As the Americans frantically raced to build a fleet at one end of Lake Champlain, two leaders stood out – and they could scarcely have been more different. Maj. Gen. Philip Schuyler was in charge of the theater of war north of Albany. He was, as Kelly points out, a skilled businessman. He was tasked with shoring up an army’s shattered confidence and building a fleet fit to stand against the greatest navy the world had ever seen.

    His unlikely colleague – and the star of Kelly’s book – was Arnold, commander of that new fleet. Kelly sees him as an otherworldly figure, with “a clairvoyant knack for reading a situation and reacting.” It was Arnold who inspired the frenetic shipbuilding, who drew men to the cause, and who spearheaded the plan to draw the British fleet into the shallow, narrow waters to the lee of Valcour Island, where its superior numbers and deep hulls would be impediments instead of strengths.

    In the end, on Oct. 11, it hardly mattered. Even a fraction of the British force was enough to rout the Americans and send them slinking back to Fort Ticonderoga. But the British victory wasn’t complete: The Colonials had retained possession of Ticonderoga, and more importantly, as Kelly dramatizes so well, they’d displayed a scrappy battle nerve. “Carleton could not avoid the sinking feeling that a long and costly effort would be needed to subdue them,” Kelly writes. “It was what Arnold wanted his opponent to think.”

    And what about Arnold? Undoubtedly, whatever good came out of the Battle of Valcour Island came from his pugnacious vitality. But four years after Valcour, he would betray his country, and his name would become synonymous with “traitor” in the American cultural vocabulary.

    Get the Monitor Stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

    “Great men can be tragically flawed and still accomplish great things,” Kelly writes. “Can we honor their achievements while at the same time condemning their treachery?”

    Kelly himself is sure of the answer: “An accurate view of history demands we must.”


    Contents

    Benedict was the second of six children of Benedict Arnold III (1683–1761) and Hannah Waterman King. He was born in Norwich, Connecticut on January 14, 1741. [2] He was named after his great-grandfather Benedict Arnold. That Benedict Arnold had been governor of the Colony of Rhode Island. Benedict Arnold was also named after his brother Benedict IV, who died in infancy. [2] Out of the six children, only Benedict and his sister Hannah lived to be adults his other brothers and sisters died of yellow fever when they were still children. [7] Arnold's mother's mother's ancestor was John Lothropp. Lothropp was also the ancestor of at least four U.S. presidents. [8]

    Arnold's father was a businessman. Socially, the family was high-ranking in Norwich. When he was ten, Arnold was sent to a private school in Canterbury. His parents planned for him to go to Yale. However, after the brother and sisters died, Arnold's father started drinking, and the family lost some of its money. By the time Arnold was fourteen, his family could not pay for private education. His father also drank too much and was in too poor health to teach Arnold to work in the family business. Arnold's mother's friends made Arnold the apprentice with two of her cousins, Daniel and Joshua Lathrop, in an apothecary and general merchandise business in Norwich. [9] His apprenticeship with the Lathrops lasted seven years. [10]

    In 1755, Arnold tried to join the provincial militia to fight in the French and Indian War, but his mother did not let him. [11] In 1757, when Arnold was sixteen, he did enlist in the militia, which marched to Albany and Lake George. When Arnold's commanders heard that the French had captured of Fort William Henry, they turned around. Arnold was in the military for 13 days [12] Some say that Arnold deserted in 1758 [13] but there is no proof. [14]

    Arnold's mother died in 1759. Arnold's father's alcoholism got worse, so Arnold had to support his father and younger sister. His father was arrested for public drunkenness, was refused communion by his church, and eventually died in 1761. [10]

    The Lathrops helped Arnold become a pharmacist and bookseller in New Haven, Connecticut in 1762. [15] Arnold was hardworking and successful, and his business begame larger. In 1763, he repaid the Lathrops the money he borrowed, [16] bought back the family house that his father had sold, and re-sold it a year later for a large profit.

    In 1764 he and Adam Babcock, another young New Haven merchant, became partners. Using the profits from the sale of the family house, they bought three ships and started trading with the West Indies. Arnold brought his sister Hannah to New Haven to work in the apothecary business when he was not there. He traveled a lot for his business, throughout New England and from Quebec to the West Indies, often running of one of his own ships. [17] On one of his voyages, Arnold fought a duel in Honduras with a British sea captain who had called him a "damned Yankee, destitute of good manners or those of a gentleman." [18] [19] The captain was wounded after in the first part duel, and apologized after Arnold threatened to aim to kill on the second part. [20]

    The Sugar Act of 1764 and the Stamp Act of 1765 limited trade in the colonies. [21] Because of the Stamp Act, Arnold joined groups of people who did not like those taxes. He also joined the Sons of Liberty, a secret organization. The Sons of Liberty sometimes used violence. [22] At first, Arnold did not go to protests in public. Like many merchants, Arnold opposed the Stamp Act by continuing his trading business without paying the tax. This meant he was a smuggler. Arnold also lost much of his money. He owed £16,000 and some creditors told people that he was bankrupt. He sued them. [23] On the night of January 28, 1767, Arnold and members of his crew, watched by a crowd of Sons of Liberty, attacked and beat up a man whom they thought had told the government that Arnold was smuggling. Arnold was convicted of disorderly conduct and fined the relatively small amount of 50 shillings. This sentence was very light. This might have been because many people knew about the case and agreed with Arnold. [24]

    On February 22, 1767, Arnold married Margaret Mansfield. She was the daughter of Samuel Mansfield, the sheriff of New Haven. Historians think Arnold may have met Samuel Mansfield at the local Masonic Lodge. [25] Arnold became business partners with Samuel Mansfield. Samuel Mansfield used his job as sheriff to help Arnold stay away from people to whom he owed money. [26] Arnold's first son, Benedict VI, was born in 1768. [27] Richard Arnold was born in 1769. Henry Arnold was born in 1772. [25] Margaret died early in the revolution, on June 19, 1775, while Arnold was still at Fort Ticonderoga. [28] Even while Margaret Arnold was still alive, it was really Arnold's sister Hannah who ran their house.

    Arnold was in the West Indies when the Boston Massacre happened on March 5, 1770. He wrote he was "very much shocked" and wondered "good God, are the Americans all asleep and tamely giving up their liberties, or are they all turned philosophers, that they don't take immediate vengeance on such miscreants." [29]

    Arnold began the war when he was elected as a captain in Connecticut's militia in March 1775. After the start of fighting at Lexington and Concord the following month, his company marched northeast to help at the siege of Boston that followed. Arnold told the Massachusetts Committee of Safety of his idea to seize Fort Ticonderoga in New York, which he knew was poorly defended. They made him a colonel on 3 May 1775, and he immediately rode off to the west, arriving at Castleton in the disputed New Hampshire Grants (present-day Vermont) in time to join with Ethan Allen and his men in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga. He followed up that action with a bold raid on Fort Saint-Jean on the Richelieu River north of Lake Champlain. When a Connecticut militia force arrived at Ticonderoga in June, he had a dispute with its commander over control of the fort, and resigned his Massachusetts commission. He was on his way home from Ticonderoga when he learned that his wife died earlier in June. [30]

    When the Second Continental Congress authorized an invasion of Quebec, in part on the urging of Arnold, he was passed over for command of the expedition. Arnold then went to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and suggested to George Washington a second expedition to attack Quebec City via a wilderness route through present-day Maine. This expedition, for which Arnold received a colonel's commission in the Continental Army, left Cambridge in September 1775 with 1,100 men. After a difficult passage in which 300 men turned back and another 200 died en route, Arnold arrived before Quebec City in November. Joined by Richard Montgomery's small army, he took part in the assault on Quebec City on 31 December, in which Montgomery was killed and Arnold's leg was shattered. Rev. Samuel Spring, his chaplain, carried him to the makeshift hospital at the Hotel Dieu. Arnold, who was promoted to brigadier general for his role in reaching Quebec, maintained an ineffectual siege of the city until he was replaced by Major General David Wooster in April 1776. [31]

    Arnold then traveled to Montreal, where he served as military commander of the city until forced to retreat by an advancing British army that had arrived at Quebec in May. He commanded the rear of the Continental Army during its retreat from Saint-Jean. James Wilkinson said Arnold was the last person to leave before the British arrived. He then directed the construction of a fleet to defend Lake Champlain, which was defeated in the October 1776 Battle of Valcour Island. His actions at Saint-Jean and Valcour Island played a notable role in delaying the British advance against Ticonderoga until 1777. [32]

    During these actions, Arnold made a number of friends and a larger number of enemies within the army power structure and in Congress. He had established decent relationships with George Washington, commander of the army, as well as Philip Schuyler and Horatio Gates, both of whom had command of the army's Northern Department during 1775 and 1776. [33] However, a dispute with Moses Hazen, commander of the 2nd Canadian Regiment, boiled over into a court martial of Hazen at Ticonderoga during the summer of 1776. Only action by Gates, then his superior at Ticonderoga, prevented his own arrest on counter charges leveled by Hazen. [34] He had also had disagreements with John Brown and James Easton, two lower-level officers with political connections that resulted in ongoing suggestions of wrongdoing on his part. Brown was particularly vicious, publishing a handbill that claimed of Arnold, "Money is this man's God, and to get enough of it he would sacrifice his country". [35]

    General Washington told Arnold to defend Rhode Island after the British captured Newport in December 1776. At that time, the militia did not have enough weapons and supplies to attack the British. [36] Arnold was near his home, so he visited his children, and he spent much of the winter in Boston, where he tried to convince a woman named Betsy Deblois to marry him. She said no. [37] In February 1777, he learned that Congress had not promoted him to major general. He tried to resign, or quit, but Washington did not let him. But Washington did write to members of Congress about the promotions. He wrote that "two or three other very good officers" might quit if Congress kept promoting people for political reasons instead of based on who could fight and lead the best. [38]

    Arnold decided to go to Philadelphia to talk about his future. On the way, he heard a British force was marching toward a place in Danbury, Connecticut where the Continental army had put its supplies. Arnold, David Wooster, and Connecticut militia General Gold Selleck Silliman led the militia to stop them. This was the Battle of Ridgefield. Arnold he led a small group of soldiers to stop or slow down the British as they returned to the Atlantic Ocean. Arnold was again wounded in his left leg.

    Then Arnold went on to Philadelphia, where he talked with members of Congress about his rank. Because of his good leadership at Ridgefield and because Wooster had died, Congress promoted Arnold to major general, although he did not outrank people who had been promoted before him. [39] Arnold was not happy about this, and he tried to quit the army again. He wrote out a letter of resignation on July 11. But that day, people in Philadelphia learned that the British had captured Fort Ticonderoga. Again, Washington told Arnold he could not quit. Washington ordered Arnold to go north and help defend it. [40]

    Arnold arrived in Schuyler's camp at Fort Edward, New York on July 24. On August 13, Schuyler sent Arnold with 900 soldiers to help soldiers at Fort Stanwix. There, Arnold used a trick win. Arnold had a Native American messenger go into the camp of British Brigadier General Barry St. Leger. The messenger said that Arnold's army was much larger and closer than it truly was. St. Leger's Native American soldiers abandoned him, so St. Leger and the rest of his soldiers had to leave too. [41]

    Arnold then went back to the Hudson, where General Gates led the American army. They had gone to a camp south of Stillwater. [42] Arnold fought very well in the Battles of Saratoga, even though he argued with General Gates and Gates told him he could no longer lead in the field. [43] During the second battle, Arnold, against Gates' orders, went to the battlefield and led attacks on the British defenses. He was again severely wounded in the left leg late in the fighting. Arnold himself said it would have been better had it been in the chest instead of the leg. [44] Burgoyne surrendered ten days after the second battle, on October 17, 1777. Because of Arnold's bravery at Saratoga, Congress restored his command seniority, meaning he outranked people who had been promoted to the same rank before him. [45] However, Arnold believed they did so because they felt sorry that he had been injured. What he really wanted was an apology for not promoting him sooner. [46]

    Arnold spent several months trying to heal from his injuries. Instead of cutting off his left leg, he had it set in a cast. It healed, but it was 2 inches (5.1 cm) shorter than the right leg. He returned to the army at Valley Forge in May 1778. Many of the men who fought with him at Saratoga clapped when they saw him. [47] There he took part in the first recorded Oath of Allegiance along with many other soldiers, as a sign of loyalty to the United States. [48]

    Arnold was made military commander of Philadelphia. He made the Masters-Penn mansion, as it was then called, his headquarters at that time. Later, that house would be the presidential mansion of George Washington and John Adams, 1790–1800. [49]

    After the British withdrew from Philadelphia in June 1778 Washington appointed Arnold military commander of the city. [50] Even before the Americans reoccupied Philadelphia, Arnold began planning to make money from the change in power there. He did many business deals designed to earn money from war-related supply movements and from his rank as a general. [51] Powerful local men sometimes stopped Arnold's plans. Together, these people found enough evidence to publicly accuse Arnold of making money improperly. Arnold demanded a court martial so he could publicly prove he did nothing wrong. He wrote to Washington in May 1779, "Having become a cripple in the service of my country, I little expected to meet [such] ungrateful returns." [52]

    Arnold spent a lot of money in Philadelphia. He went to many social events, such as balls. During the summer of 1778, Arnold met Peggy Shippen, the 18-year-old daughter of Judge Edward Shippen, a Loyalist sympathizer who had done business with the British while they occupied the city. [53] When the British had ruled Philadelphia, Major John André had also wanted to marry Peggy. [54] Peggy and Arnold married on April 8, 1779. [55] Peggy and her friends had learned how to write letters to the men they liked even when there were armies in between, even though the military did not want people to talk to the enemy. [56] Joseph Stansbury, a Philadelphia merchant, helped Peggy and her friends send some of their messages. [57]

    Sometime early in May 1779, Arnold met with Stansbury. Stansbury, whose testimony before a British commission apparently erroneously placed the date in June, said that, after meeting with Arnold, "I went secretly to New York with a tender of [Arnold's] services to Sir Henry Clinton." [58] Ignoring instructions from Arnold not to involve anyone else in the plot, Stansbury crossed the British lines and went to see Jonathan Odell in New York. Odell was a Loyalist working with William Franklin, the last Colonial Governor of New Jersey and the son of Benjamin Franklin. On 9 May Franklin introduced Stansbury to Major André, who had just been named the British spy chief. [59] This was the beginning of a secret correspondence between Arnold and André, sometimes using his wife Peggy as a willing intermediary, that culminated over a year later with Arnold's change of sides. [52]

    Secret communications Edit

    André spoke to General Clinton, who gave him broad authority to pursue Arnold's offer. André then drafted instructions to Stansbury and Arnold. [60] This first letter opened a discussion on the types of assistance and intelligence Arnold might provide, and included instructions for how to communicate in the future. Letters would be passed through the women's circle that Peggy Arnold was a part of, but only Peggy would be aware that some letters contained instructions written in both code and invisible ink that were to be passed on to André, using Stansbury as the courier. [61]

    By July 1779, Arnold was providing the British with troop locations and strengths, as well as the locations of supply depots, all the while negotiating over compensation. At first, he asked for indemnification of his losses and £10,000, an amount the Continental Congress had given Charles Lee for his services in the Continental Army. [62] General Clinton, who was pursuing a campaign to gain control of the Hudson River Valley, was interested in plans and information on the defenses of West Point and other defenses on the Hudson River. He also began to insist on a face-to-face meeting, and suggested to Arnold that he pursue another high-level command. [63] By October 1779, the negotiations had ground to a halt. [64] Furthermore, Patriot mobs were scouring Philadelphia for Loyalists, and Arnold and the Shippen family were being threatened. Arnold was rebuffed by Congress and by local authorities in requests for security details for himself and his in-laws. [65]

    Court martial Edit

    The court martial to consider the charges against Arnold began meeting on 1 June 1779, but was delayed until December 1779 by General Clinton's capture of Stony Point, New York, throwing the army into a flurry of activity to react. [66] In spite of the fact that a number of members of the panel of judges were men ill-disposed to Arnold over actions and disputes earlier in the war, Arnold was cleared of all but two minor charges on 26 January 1780. [67] Arnold worked over the next few months to publicize this fact however, in early April, just one week after Washington congratulated Arnold on the 19 May birth of his son, Edward Shippen Arnold, Washington published a formal rebuke of Arnold's behavior. [68]

    The Commander-in-Chief would have been much happier in an occasion of bestowing commendations on an officer who had rendered such distinguished services to his country as Major General Arnold but in the present case, a sense of duty and a regard to candor oblige him to declare that he considers his conduct [in the convicted actions] as imprudent and improper.

    Shortly after Washington's rebuke, a Congressional inquiry into his expenditures concluded that Arnold had failed to fully account for his expenditures incurred during the Quebec invasion, and that he owed the Congress some £1,000, largely because he was unable to document them. [70] A significant number of these documents were lost during the retreat from Quebec angry and frustrated, Arnold resigned his military command of Philadelphia in late April. [71]

    Offer to surrender West Point Edit

    Early in April, Philip Schuyler had approached Arnold with the possibility of giving him the command at West Point. Discussions between Schuyler and Washington on the subject had not borne fruit by early June. Arnold reopened the secret channels with the British, informing them of Schuyler's proposals and including Schuyler's assessment of conditions and West Point. He also provided information on a proposed French-American invasion of Quebec that was to go up the Connecticut River. (Arnold did not know that this proposed invasion was a ruse intended to divert British resources.) On 16 June Arnold inspected West Point while on his way home to Connecticut to take care of personal business, and sent a highly detailed report through the secret channel. [72] When he reached Connecticut Arnold arranged to sell his home there, and began transferring assets to London through intermediaries in New York. By early July he was back in Philadelphia, where he wrote another secret message to Clinton on 7 July which implied that his appointment to West Point was assured and that he might even provide a "drawing of the works . by which you might take [West Point] without loss". [73]

    General Clinton and Major André, who returned victorious from the Siege of Charleston on 18 June were immediately caught up in this news. Clinton, concerned that Washington's army and the French fleet would join in Rhode Island, again fixed on West Point as a strategic point to capture. André, who had spies and informers keeping track of Arnold, verified his movements. Excited by the prospects, Clinton informed his superiors of his intelligence coups, but failed to respond to Arnold's 7 July letter. [74]

    Arnold next wrote a series of letters to Clinton, even before he might have expected a response to the 7 July letter. In a letter of 11 July, he complained that the British did not appear to trust him, and threatened to break off negotiations unless progress was made. On 12 July he wrote again, making explicit the offer to surrender West Point, although his price (in addition to indemnification for his losses) rose to £20,000, with a £1,000 down payment to be delivered with the response. These letters were delivered not by Stansbury but by Samuel Wallis, another Philadelphia businessman who spied for the British. [75]

    Command at West Point Edit

    On 3 August 1780, Arnold obtained command of West Point. On 15 August he received a coded letter from André with Clinton's final offer: £20,000, and no indemnification for his losses. Due to difficulties in getting the messages across the lines, neither side knew for some days that the other was in agreement to that offer. Arnold's letters continued to detail Washington's troop movements and provide information about French reinforcements that were being organized. On 25 August Peggy finally delivered to him Clinton's agreement to the terms. [76]

    Washington, in assigning Arnold to the command at West Point, also gave him authority over the entire American-controlled Hudson River, from Albany down to the British lines outside New York City. While en route to West Point, Arnold renewed an acquaintance with Joshua Hett Smith, someone Arnold knew had done spy work for both sides, and who owned a house near the western bank of the Hudson just south of West Point. [77]

    Once he established himself at West Point, Arnold began systematically weakening its defenses and military strength. Needed repairs on the chain across the Hudson were never ordered. Troops were liberally distributed within Arnold's command area (but only minimally at West Point itself), or furnished to Washington on request. He also peppered Washington with complaints about the lack of supplies, writing, "Everything is wanting". [78] At the same time, he tried to drain West Point's supplies, so that a siege would be more likely to succeed. His subordinates, some of whom were long-time associates, grumbled about unnecessary distribution of supplies, and eventually concluded that Arnold was selling some of the supplies on the black market for personal gain. [78]

    On August 30, Arnold sent a letter accepting Clinton's terms and proposing a meeting to André through yet another intermediary: William Heron, a member of the Connecticut Assembly he thought he could trust. Heron, in a comic twist, went into New York unaware of the significance of the letter, and offered his own services to the British as a spy. He then took the letter back to Connecticut, where, suspicious of Arnold's actions, he delivered it to the head of the Connecticut militia. General Parsons, seeing a letter written as a coded business discussion, laid it aside. Four days later, Arnold sent a ciphered letter with similar content into New York through the services of a prisoner-of-war's wife. [79] Eventually, a meeting was set for 11 September near Dobb's Ferry. This meeting was thwarted when British gunboats in the river, not having been informed of his impending arrival, fired on his boat. [80]

    Plot exposed Edit

    Arnold and André finally met on 21 September at Joshua Hett Smith's house. On the morning of 22 September James Livingston, the colonel in charge of the outpost at Verplanck's Point, fired on HMS Vulture, the ship that was intended to carry André back to New York. This action damaged the ship and she had to retreat downriver, forcing André to return to New York overland. Arnold wrote out passes for André so that he would be able to pass through the lines, and also gave him plans for West Point. [81] On Saturday, 23 September André was captured, near Tarrytown, by three Westchester patriots named John Paulding, Isaac Van Wart and David Williams [82] the papers exposing the plot to capture West Point were found and sent to Washington, and Arnold's treachery came to light after Washington examined them. [83] Meanwhile, André convinced the unsuspecting commanding officer to whom he was delivered, Colonel John Jameson, to send him back to Arnold at West Point. However, Major Benjamin Tallmadge, a member of Washington's secret service, insisted Jameson order the prisoner intercepted and brought back. Jameson reluctantly recalled the lieutenant delivering André into Arnold's custody, but then sent the same lieutenant as a messenger to notify Arnold of André's arrest. [84]

    Arnold learned of André's capture the following morning, 24 September, when he received Jameson's message that André was in his custody and that the papers André was carrying had been sent to General Washington. Arnold received Jameson's letter while waiting for Washington, with whom he had planned to have breakfast. [85] He made all haste to the shore and ordered bargemen to row him downriver to where the Vulture was anchored, which then took him to New York. [86] From the ship Arnold wrote a letter to Washington, [87] requesting that Peggy be given safe passage to her family in Philadelphia, a request Washington granted. [88] When presented with evidence of Arnold's betrayal, it is reported that Washington was calm. He did, however, investigate the extent of the betrayal, and suggested in negotiations with General Clinton over the fate of Major André that he was willing to exchange André for Arnold. This suggestion Clinton refused after a military tribunal, André was hanged at Tappan, New York on 2 October. Washington also infiltrated men into New York in an attempt to kidnap Arnold this plan, which very nearly succeeded, failed when Arnold changed living quarters prior to sailing for Virginia in December. [89]

    Arnold attempted to justify his actions in an open letter titled To the Inhabitants of America, published in newspapers in October 1780. [90] In the letter to Washington requesting safe passage for Peggy, he wrote that "Love to my country actuates my present conduct, however it may appear inconsistent to the world, who very seldom judge right of any man's actions." [87]

    British Army service Edit

    The British gave Arnold a brigadier general's commission with an annual income of several hundred pounds, but only paid him £6,315 plus an annual pension of £360 because his plot failed. [5] In December 1780, under orders from Clinton, Arnold led a force of 1,600 troops into Virginia, where he captured Richmond by surprise and then went on a rampage through Virginia, destroying supply houses, foundries, and mills. [91] This activity brought Virginia's militia out, and Arnold eventually retreated to Portsmouth to either be evacuated or reinforced. The pursuing American army included the Marquis de Lafayette, who was under orders from Washington to summarily hang Arnold if he was captured. Reinforcements led by William Phillips (who served under Burgoyne at Saratoga) arrived in late March, and Phillips led further raids across Virginia, including a defeat of Baron von Steuben at Petersburg, until his death of fever on 12 May 1781. Arnold commanded the army only until 20 May when Lord Cornwallis arrived with the southern army and took over. One colonel wrote to Clinton of Arnold, "there are many officers who must wish some other general in command". [92] Cornwallis ignored advice proffered by Arnold to locate a permanent base away from the coast that might have averted his later surrender at Yorktown. [92]

    On his return to New York in June, Arnold made a variety of proposals for continuing to attack essentially economic targets in order to force the Americans to end the war. Clinton, however, was not interested in most of Arnold's aggressive ideas, but finally relented and authorized Arnold to raid the port of New London, Connecticut. On 4 September not long after the birth of his and Peggy's second son, Arnold's force of over 1,700 men raided and burned New London and captured Fort Griswold, causing damage estimated at $500,000. [93] British casualties were high—nearly one quarter of the force was killed or wounded, a rate at which Clinton claimed he could ill afford more such victories. [94]

    Even before Cornwallis's surrender in October, Arnold had requested permission from Clinton to go to England to give Lord Germain his thoughts on the war in person. [95] When word of the surrender reached New York, Arnold renewed the request, which Clinton then granted. On 8 December 1781, Arnold and his family left New York for England. [96] In London he aligned himself with the Tories, advising Germain and King George III to renew the fight against the Americans. In the House of Commons, Edmund Burke expressed the hope that the government would not put Arnold "at the head of a part of a British army" lest "the sentiments of true honor, which every British officer [holds] dearer than life, should be afflicted." [88] To Arnold's detriment the anti-war Whigs had gotten the upper hand in Parliament, and Germain was forced to resign, with the government of Lord North falling not long after. [97]

    Arnold then applied to accompany General Carleton, who was going to New York to replace Clinton as commander-in-chief this request went nowhere. [97] Other attempts to gain positions within the government or the British East India Company over the next few years all failed, and he was forced to subsist on the reduced pay of non-wartime service. [98] His reputation also came under criticism in the British press, especially when compared to that of Major André, who was celebrated for his patriotism. One particularly harsh critic said that he was a "mean mercenary, who, having adopted a cause for the sake of plunder, quits it when convicted of that charge." [97] In turning him down for an East India Company posting, George Johnstone wrote, "Although I am satisfied with the purity of your conduct, the generality do not think so. While this is the case, no power in this country could suddenly place you in the situation you aim at under the East India Company." [99]

    New business opportunities Edit

    In 1785 Arnold and his son Richard moved to Saint John, New Brunswick, where they speculated in land, and established a business doing trade with the West Indies. Arnold purchased large tracts of land in the Maugerville area, and acquired city lots in Saint John and Fredericton. [100] Delivery of his first ship, the Lord Sheffield, was accompanied by accusations from the builder that Arnold had cheated him Arnold claimed that he had merely deducted the contractually agreed amount when the ship was delivered late. [101] After her first voyage, Arnold returned to London in 1786 to bring his family to Saint John. While there he disentangled himself from a lawsuit over an unpaid debt that Peggy had been fighting while he was away, paying £900 to settle a £12,000 loan he had taken while living in Philadelphia. [102] The family moved to Saint John in 1787, where Arnold created an uproar with a series of bad business deals and petty lawsuits. [103] Following the most serious, a slander suit he won against a former business partner, townspeople burned him in effigy in front of his house as Peggy and the children watched. [104] The family left Saint John to return to London in December 1791. [105]

    In July 1792 he fought a bloodless duel with the James Maitland, 8th Earl of Lauderdale after the Earl impugned his honor in the House of Lords. [5] With the outbreak of the French Revolution Arnold outfitted a privateer, while continuing to do business in the West Indies, even though the hostilities increased the risk. He was imprisoned by French authorities on Guadeloupe amid accusations of spying for the British, and narrowly eluded hanging by escaping to the blockading British fleet after bribing his guards. He helped organize militia forces on British-held islands, receiving praise from the landowners for his efforts on their behalf. This work, which he hoped would earn him wider respect and a new command, instead earned him and his sons a land grant of 15,000 acres (6,100 ha) in Upper Canada, [106] near present-day Renfrew, Ontario. [107]

    In January 1801 Arnold's health began to decline. [88] Gout, which he had suffered since 1775, [108] attacked his unwounded leg to the point where he was unable to go to sea the other ached constantly, and he walked only with a cane. His doctors diagnosed him as having dropsy, and a visit to the countryside only temporarily improved his condition. He died after four days of delirium, on 14 June 1801, at the age of 60. [88] Legend has it that when he was on his deathbed he said, "Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another," [109] but this may be apocryphal. [4] Arnold was buried at St. Mary's Church, Battersea in London, England. As a result of a clerical error in the parish records, his remains were removed to an unmarked mass grave during church renovations a century later. [110] His funeral procession had "seven mourning coaches and four state carriages" [88] the funeral was without military honors. [111]

    He left a small estate, reduced in size by his debts, which Peggy undertook to clear. [5] [88] Among his bequests were considerable gifts to one John Sage, who turned out to be an illegitimate son conceived during his time in New Brunswick. [111]

    Arnold's contributions to American independence are largely underrepresented in popular culture, while his name became synonymous with traitor in the 19th century. The demonization of Arnold began immediately after his betrayal became public. Biblical themes were often invoked Benjamin Franklin wrote that "Judas Iscariot sold only one man, Arnold three million", and Alexander Scammel described Arnold's actions as "black as hell". [112]

    Early biographers attempted to describe Arnold's entire life in terms of treacherous or morally questionable behavior. The first major biography of Arnold, The Life and Treason of Benedict Arnold, published in 1832 by historian Jared Sparks, was particularly harsh in showing how Arnold's treacherous character was allegedly formed out of childhood experiences. [113] George Canning Hill, who authored a series of moralistic biographies in the mid-19th century, began his 1865 biography of Arnold "Benedict, the Traitor, was born . ". [114] Social historian Brian Carso notes that as the 19th century progressed, the story of Arnold's betrayal took on near-mythic proportions as a part of the national creation story, and was again invoked as sectional conflicts leading up the American Civil War increased. Washington Irving used it as part of an argument against dismemberment of the union in his 1857 Life of George Washington, pointing out that only the unity of New England and the southern states that led to independence was made possible in part by holding West Point. [115] Jefferson Davis and other southern secessionist leaders were unfavorably compared to Arnold, implicitly and explicitly likening the idea of secession to treason. Harper's Weekly published an article in 1861 describing Confederate leaders as "a few men directing this colossal treason, by whose side Benedict Arnold shines white as a saint." [116]

    Fictional invocations of Arnold's name also carried strongly negative overtones. A moralistic children's tale entitled "The Cruel Boy" was widely circulated in the 19th century. It described a boy who stole eggs from birds' nests, pulled wings off insects, and engaged in other sorts of wanton cruelty, who then grew up to become a traitor to his country. The boy is not identified until the end of the story, when his place of birth is given as Norwich, Connecticut, and his name is given as Benedict Arnold. [117] However, not all depictions of Arnold were strongly negative. Some theatrical treatments of the 19th century explored his duplicity, seeking to understand rather than demonize it. [118]

    The connection between Arnold and treason continued into the 20th and 21st centuries. On an episode of The Brady Bunch, Everyone Can't Be George Washington, after Peter is assigned the role of Arnold in the school play, everyone hates him. [119] In a recent reference, Dan Gilbert, owner of the National Basketball Association's Cleveland Cavaliers, subtly invoked Arnold in 2010. Upset over the manner in which LeBron James announced his departure from the team, Gilbert's company lowered the price of posters bearing James's likeness to $17.41, referring to the year of Arnold's birth. [120] [121]

    Novelistic treatments of the American Revolutionary war sometimes feature Arnold as a character. But one notable treatment, depicting Arnold very much in a positive light, is Kenneth Roberts' Arundel novels, which cover many of the campaigns in which he participated:

    • Arundel (1929) – The American Revolution through the Battle of Quebec
    • Rabble in Arms (1933) – The American Revolution through the Battles of Saratoga
    • Oliver Wiswell (1940) – The American Revolution from a Loyalist's perspective

    During his marriage to Margaret Mansfield, Arnold had the following children: [122] [123]

    Benedict Arnold VI (1768–1795) (captain in the British Army, killed in action) Richard Arnold (1769–1847) Henry Arnold (1772–1826)

    and with Peggy Shippen, he raised a family active in British military service:

    Edward Arnold (1780–1813) (lieutenant) James Arnold (1781–1854) (lieutenant general) George Arnold (1787–1828) (lieutenant colonel) Sophia Arnold (1785–1828) William Arnold (1794–1846) (capt.)

    On the battlefield at Saratoga, now preserved in Saratoga National Historical Park, stands a monument in memorial to Arnold, but there is no mention of his name on the engraving. Donated by Civil War General John Watts DePeyster, the inscription on the Boot Monument reads: "In memory of the most brilliant soldier of the Continental army, who was desperately wounded on this spot, winning for his countrymen the decisive battle of the American Revolution, and for himself the rank of Major General." [124] The victory monument at Saratoga has four niches, three of which are occupied by statues of Generals Gates, Schuyler, and Morgan. The fourth niche is empty. [125]

    On the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point there are plaques commemorating all of the generals that served in the Revolution. One plaque bears only a rank, "major general" and a date, "born 1740", [3] and no name. [113]

    The house at 62 Gloucester Place where Arnold lived in central London still stands, bearing a plaque that describes Arnold as an "American Patriot". [126] The church where Arnold was buried, St. Mary's Church, Battersea, England, has a commemorative stained-glass window which was added between 1976 and 1982. [127] The faculty club at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, has a Benedict Arnold Room, in which framed original letters written by Arnold hang on the walls.


    1. Judas Iscariot

    According to the Bible, Satan “entered Judas” before he betrayed the son of Christ to Roman authorities. This infamous member of the Twelve Apostles betrayed his friend for money alone – thirty pieces of silver. Judas arranged a special signal to let the authorities know the identity of Jesus Christ: he would kiss Jesus to identify him. This “Judas kiss” led to the prosecution and death by crucifixion of the Son of God, and puts Judas Iscariot at number one as the most notorious traitor in human history: Judas died shortly after his monumental act of greed.