Revisiting Benedict Arnold

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Benedict Arnold is a name that lives in infamy, even though these days, many historically-challenged Americans couldn’t tell you precisely what he did. They just know it was treason.

“BENEDICT JEFFORDS” screamed the New York Post headline when Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont abandoned the Republican Party. Benedict Arnold’s name also turns up on sports pages when a player deserts to a rival team.

The true story of Benedict Arnold is more dramatic and complex. He’s famous as a traitor, but he was also a hero of the American Revolution. He led patriot troops to a crucial victory at Saratoga. That is what made his betrayal of George Washington and the American cause all the more stunning.


James Kirby Martin, author of “Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero: An American Warrior Reconsidered”;
David Taylor, screenwriter.