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The "Palladium" Of American Liberty Essay

1306 words - 5 pages

In all revolutions, men and women emerge throughout nations to defy governments, and to bring about change across their country. Many direct their people to challenge what they believe to be an unjust regime. However sometimes those in charge lead, not for the good of their fellow countrymen and revolutionaries, but for their personal benefit they are able to receive through their abetment. One example of such was Major General Charles Lee, second in command of the Continental Army, who at first had been seen as a huge contributor to American Liberty. Though experienced in battle, Lee revealed to be not only a disagreeable and an uncooperative individual, but a traitor to the American people, when he believed all hope was lost.
It was once stated that, "there can be no greater error committed, than for the leaders of a revolution to select for military commanders, those whose tastes and habits are formed under an entirely different organization of things,"(Headley 157). General Lee, became the perfect example of this. Born in 1732 and raised in England, Lee was fourteen when he became part of his father's regiment, the 55th foot. In 1754, Lee joined the 44th regiment and went to America to fight in the French and Indian War. During the time he was there he befriended the Seneca Indians and was given the name Ounewaterika, or "boiling water," due to his temperament. By the age of 27, Lee had been promoted major of the 103rd regiment. However, in 1772, Lee left Britain, accusing George III of destroying the liberty of Englishmen, and journeyed to start a new life in America.
Arriving during the apex of protest, Lee quickly became interested in the affairs between America and Britain. Due to his popular opposition against the government, Lee was able to easily interact with those who spearheaded the revolution. He spoke highly of America's ability to defeat the redcoats, and within a short period of time, he began teaching battle tactics to many of his fellow revolutionaries. By 1775, he had purchased an estate in Virginia, abandoned the King's army, and joined the Continental Army.
Unfortunately, every man has flaws that potentially can lead to their downfall. General Lee was destroyed by his pride, and his disloyalty to those other than himself. Through his contributions before the war, he became known as the "Palladium of American Liberty," and became one of the favored individuals to lead the Continental Army during the Revolution. However, to Lee's great discontent, the position was given to George Washington, and Lee became Major General, third, then later second, in command of the Continentals. From then on, his allegiance to the Americans slowly disintegrated. His lack of respect for Washington was clearly expressed through his actions and writings. In 1776, Washington and Lee fought side by side, and the loss of Fort Washington in Manhattan made Lee think that Washington was not equipped for the position of Commander in Chief of the...

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