Happy Birthday Benedict Arnold - January 14, 1741
January 10, 2018
Hi, everyone! My name’s Peter. In addition to being an enormous history geek and an ardent fan of L.M. Elliott’s work, I am also lucky enough to be her son. When she first told me that she was writing a book set in the Revolutionary War period, with an emphasis on Peggy Schuyler, two thoughts immediately entered my head. One, the Revolution is one of my favorite historical periods, so WOO! Two, could I help do some research?
Probably realizing that I wasn’t going to take no for an answer, Mom gave me the task
of researching the General himself, George Washington, and the various figures that revolved around him socially, politically, and militaristically. While, obviously, researching GW was an incredible experience, my interest quickly piqued when she asked me to compile research on the infamous Benedict Arnold.
While I knew the basics of Benedict Arnold, as I think every single person who half paid attention in a US History class does, I honestly had no idea what made him who he was. Meaning, we all know about the treason he committed by switching sides, but what is typically glossed over is what caused him to do such a thing.
During his time as a General in the Continental Army, Benedict Arnold was revered by his fellow patriots as not only a fearless tactician and figure in battle, but also as an ultimate leader of men. He was lauded for his heroic exploits, especially in the Battle of Saratoga, but was continually overlooked for promotions within the Army. Combine that with the severe wounds he suffered in battle, and the constant clashes he had with his superiors, and you have the perfect storm. Furthermore, while doing this research, I came to a profound realization: that Arnold was simply a product of his environment—that the traitorous monster he has been built up to be was, arguably, of our own creation. Uh-oh…
For more information, check out the bio of Benedict Arnold here:
Hamilton and Peggy: A Revolutionary Friendship - Supporting Characters - Benedict Arnold