Benedict Arnold: Marked As A Traitor

1184 words - 5 pages

Benedict Arnold was an American hero. He might have even been the best general the United States had. But during a bleak moment of envy, hurt and distrust, an admirable leader turned into a monster that could not be turned back. When he was at his lowest, he decided to surrender West Point, a fort that was essential to the Americans during the Revolution, over to the British. He did not succeed, but he still managed to get away before he was caught. Arnold’s name was now to be forever associated with treachery and dishonesty (Creighton). But has anyone stopped to think why Benedict Arnold strayed onto the path of betrayal? What led him to be disloyal to a country he had fought with since the French and Indian War? No one retaliates to an action without an action to retaliate to. Although Benedict Arnold is known as America’s most famous traitor, his acts of treason can surely be justified.
First of all, Benedict Arnold did plenty for the Revolution but was never truly thanked or paid for his services. He had suffered a leg wound in an assault on Quebec, was reinjured at the Battle of Saratoga and left crippled forever but never received any medal of honor (Who Served Here?). He gave his own money and time to train his forces so that they could be the best in the army (Creighton), but he was never shown any gratitude. He also happened to be a very good general. He always fought his hardest and thought quickly (Dell 51-53). For example, at Lake Champlain, he burned the American fleets so that the British could not steal them and use them (Dell 55). To most, it seemed like Arnold was out of his mind, but it was really just him planning ahead. Also, he was always optimistic and encouraging his troops in severe conditions, especially on the trip to Quebec. (Who Served Here?). Arnold also had a sense of when and when not to attack, an extremely useful quality to have when leading an army. At Saratoga, General Horatio Gates did not want to send the troops in for battle, but Arnold realized that the time for battle was now. He took command and led them in fearlessly while General Gates stayed back at camp (Dell 63-64). Even with his quick thinking and military smarts, Arnold did not receive the praise he deserved after winning the Battle of Saratoga, a turning point in the American Revolution.
Arnold was denied appreciation and credit time after time. He was always passed over for promotion, even when he clearly earned it. After he basically gave a leg for the cause (Who Served Here?), Congress promoted five of his juniors instead of promoting him. They did advance his rank later, but he was still below the rank of the other five. They kept declining his requests to restore his seniority, and did not do so until after the Battle of Saratoga, a whole year later (Kirby). It was later found out that the only reason he was not promoted much earlier was that many people were jealous of him (Creighton). Arnold also rarely got credit for his work. For...

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