Research Paper: Benedict Arnold American History Working

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[. . .] Furthermore his track record of dealing with British army in youth might also have been a considerable reason. Selfish men tend to ignore the greater good when it is compared to their own individual well being along with this Arnold made various friends and enemies within the elite class and his general perception was not of a great politician nor as a diplomat. Arnold's approach had many flaws as a leader although he made a lot of profits from his businesses, his extravagant life style kept him under debt and he used his political and social connection to avoid pressure from creditors[footnoteRef:10]. Another major reason for his disrepute amongst elitists was Arnold's views about American society and poor condition of general masses at most instances he would disagree on policies and acts of congress. Being unrecognized and critical of how things were ran by the then government it was not a surprise that Arnold became jealous and grew weary of the situation. [9: Branham, Leigh. The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, (Amacom, 2005), 32.] [10: Randall, W. "Why Benedict Arnold Did It," American Heritage; available from http://www.americanheritage.com/content/why-benedict-arnold-did-it?page=7; Internet; accessed October 28, 2012. ]

Having faith in his leadership abilities he believed and assumed that he could run the matters of the state and army far better than others around him, this assumption embedded in him sheer jealousy and resulted in a vindictive behavior against the authorities and inferior military officials who were rewarded more by the congress. At one stage Arnold rose to the third highest position in the continental army, but he wanted more and this desire led him to his demise as he had a court martial session in 1779 where his behavior was deemed as indecent and irresponsible. The lack of faith he saw in his leadership made him realize that the damage done by him cannot be repaired hence a change in loyalty seemed the best choice for him[footnoteRef:11]. [11: Martin, J. Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero: An American Warrior Reconsidered (NYU Press, 2000).]

While living in Philadelphia Arnold married 18-year-old Peggy Shippen, a British loyalist who had prior relationship with a British Major during the British rule over Philadelphia. It is during this communion that Arnold started socializing and contacting British loyalists and army officials, since a direct communication was not possible Peggy became the instrument of transferring information between Arnold and British officials. The treason of Arnold can be attributed to the wants of his second wife Peggy, who was not only British loyalist but was also a greedy woman who wanted more and more from life and tilted Arnold towards the enemy so much so that he eventually moved to London in a later stage of his life[footnoteRef:12]. [12: Randall, W. "Why Benedict Arnold Did It," American Heritage; available from http://www.americanheritage.com/content/why-benedict-arnold-did-it?page=10; Internet; accessed October 28, 2012. ]

Considering human behavior and psychology lack of recognition and rewards with disagreement on major social and political issues can push a person to his own demise. In these modern times one cannot ignore the incidents in routine life, dejected youth turn to violence, military men use inhumane means to humiliate war prisoners and leaders lie and deceive their followers. After the mentioned arguments these are the major findings and investigated reasons why a war hero turned in to a traitor.

Unfortunate circumstances faced by Arnold during his adolescent and teenage life, which shaped his flawed yet strong personality.

Arnold's motivation to make profits from wars and unethical business practices followed by many accusations and court hearings.

The increasing lust for power and a self righteous attitude making him assume that he can turn things around and develop a better economic and equal America.

His unrecognized efforts at war and being ignored by congress and leadership of that time along with no political influence a failure to secure a political position along with a military one.

Increasing weariness related to American cause, close ties with Britons and marriage with Peggy and her role in supporting the treacherous plot.

Overall felt jealousy and an unrelenting attitude that inculcated fear in followers. Furthermore his extravagant lifestyle and pressure of debt and Peggy's demand forced him to seek refuge with the enemy.

After the secret negotiation of 1779 between Arnold and British officials, an agreement was made between the two that Arnold would gift the key and the control of West Point to British army. This treacherous plan could not be completed and British Major John Andre was captured by patriots returning from a meeting with Arnold. Andre was hanged after the British Army refused to exchange Arnold for Andre, the scheme was exposed and Arnold was declared a traitor, Arnold escaped to New York and joined British army as a brigadier general and led many attacks on the Continental army but the end of war in 1781 left him nowhere[footnoteRef:13]. He shifted with his family to London and lobbied to gain an important political or military position although his efforts were not successful as majority thought of him us unreliable and a traitor to his own people. In 1801 on his death bed he claimed loyalty to his uniform of continental army although his funeral was held without any military honors. With his demise the American got its traitor, someone they can refer to as evil and cruel to the coming generations[footnoteRef:14]. [13: Randall, Willard Sterne. Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor. (William Morrow and Inc. 1990)] [14: Sheinkin, S. The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery. (Flash Point; 1 edition, 2010).]

Conclusion

After a thorough analysis of Benedict Arnold's life and a dedicated investigation revealing the reasons for his treacherous act. One cannot but feel sympathy for him and the series of events that made him commit such a devastating act to self and his nation. Is he a hero or a traitor, well after much deliberation there is a convinced view that he did committed the heinous crime of treachery, hence he is indeed a traitor but a traitor fueled by sufficient reasons of his own and some forcing factors from others. American nation should apprise the young generation of the achievements of this courageous man along with a correct historic account of his circumstances rather than only using him as an example for treachery. Wrapping him with a treacherous disguise only and not recognizing his earlier victories the American nation is involved in criticizing the greatest soldier in the American history who went rogue.

Works Cited

Biography. "Benedict Arnold," Biography.com. Available at http://www.biography.com/people/benedict-arnold-9189320; Internet; accessed October 28, 2012.

Brandt, Clare. The Man in the Mirror: A Life of Benedict Arnold. (New York: Random House, 1994).

Branham, Leigh. The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, (Amacom, 2005), 32.

Carso, Brian F. Whom Can We Trust Now?:the Meaning of Treason in the United States, from the Revolution Through the Civil War. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2006).

Howe, Archibald. "Colonel John Brown, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the Brave Accuser of Benedict Arnold." (Boston W.B. Clarke). Available from http://www.scribd.com/doc/2381381/Colonel-John-Brown-of-Pittsfield-Massachusetts-the-Brave-Accuser-of-Benedict-Arnold-by-Howe-Archibald-Murray-1848; Internet; accessed October 28, 2012.

Leman, Kevin and Randy Carlson, "Childhood Memories." The way we were Focus on the Family, (1989) [e-journal] < http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/images/Birthodr.pdf

Martin, J. Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero: An American Warrior Reconsidered (NYU Press, 2000).

National Park Service. Saratoga National Historical Park -- Tour Stop 7. National Park Service. Available from http://www.nps.gov/archive/sara/tour-7.htm; Internet; accessed October 28, 2012.

Randall, W. "Why Benedict Arnold Did It," American Heritage; available from http://www.americanheritage.com/content/why-benedict-arnold-did-it; Internet; accessed October 28, 2012.

Randall, W. "Why Benedict Arnold Did It," American Heritage; available from http://www.americanheritage.com/content/why-benedict-arnold-did-it?page=2; Internet; accessed October 28, 2012.

Randall, W. "Why Benedict Arnold Did It," American Heritage; available from http://www.americanheritage.com/content/why-benedict-arnold-did-it?page=7; Internet; accessed October 28, 2012.

Randall, W. "Why Benedict Arnold Did It," American Heritage; available from http://www.americanheritage.com/content/why-benedict-arnold-did-it?page=10; Internet; accessed October 28, 2012.

Randall, Willard Sterne. Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor. (William Morrow and Inc. 1990)

Sheinkin, S. The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery. (Flash Point; 1 edition, 2010). [END OF PREVIEW]

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