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Old March 2nd, 2012, 07:33 AM   #21

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Originally Posted by Sargon of Akkad View Post
I don't know anything about Benedict Arnold other than his 'turncoat' reputation, so I've just been browsing the Wikipedia article on him, and he strikes me as an American Alcibiades.

He seems to be a man of brilliance who makes bad decisions and could do great things if given the chance, and the ability to get over his own personality. A very interesting figure.
So true. But he was an opportunist both when his choice to betray West Point came and in his later career.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 07:39 AM   #22

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sargon of Akkad View Post
I don't know anything about Benedict Arnold other than his 'turncoat' reputation, so I've just been browsing the Wikipedia article on him, and he strikes me as an American Alcibiades.

He seems to be a man of brilliance who makes bad decisions and could do great things if given the chance, and the ability to get over his own personality. A very interesting figure.
I don't know anything about Alcibiades, but if you think there's a comparison, then, ok.
From a neutral, I like your assessment of General Arnold.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 08:38 AM   #23

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Like much of the Revolution, Arnold is lost in a long past picture of breeches, tricorn hats and powdered wigs. Most people have probably heard of somebody being referred to as a "Benedict Arnold", but I bet only 1 in 20 who is 10 years past their last high school American History course could even explain what he did.

Hate takes passion and emotion; Arnold is way too remote for that. I've always found him to be a very interesting character; a real smart and capable guy who just didn't sign on to a Big Picture either way. Had he been a tory from the outset or a patriot 'till the end, we would see him in a very different light, but his big change made him to appear as being completely self-absorbed, a fatal failing in that context. As it turned out, neither side liked him very much...a traitor to the Americans and untrustworthy to the British.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 09:04 AM   #24

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As it turned out, neither side liked him very much...a traitor to the Americans and untrustworthy to the British.
That to me is one of the signs of a true traitor: NOBODY trusts him, not even the side he ends up supporting.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 09:08 AM   #25

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Hate? Not really, but I have no sympathy for Benedict Arnold. You could try to justify his actions all you want, the fact of the matter is he knew exactly what would have happened had the plot not been discovered. It's not like he was forced to betray the Americans.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 09:31 AM   #26

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Wikipedia makes a telling point about him::
Quote:
In turning him down for an East India Company posting, George Johnstone wrote, "Although I am satisfied with the purity of your conduct, the generality do not think so. While this is the case, no power in this country could suddenly place you in the situation you aim at under the East India Company."[100]

Notes: Brandt, Clare (1994). The Man in the Mirror: A Life of Benedict Arnold. New York: Random House. ISBN 0679401067 p 257
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 10:21 AM   #27

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Hate? Not really, but I have no sympathy for Benedict Arnold. You could try to justify his actions all you want, the fact of the matter is he knew exactly what would have happened had the plot not been discovered. It's not like he was forced to betray the Americans.
This. Judging from Washington's conduct regarding the betrayal, it was one of the events of the AR that he took most personally. Hate is a bit strong of a word to use in the op. A traitor to one cause can be at traitor to any cause. His "karma" and his act that brought it about can serve as an example, and has, to posterity.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 11:55 AM   #28
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The careers of many of the officers that worked closely with James Wilkinson ended badly.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 12:16 PM   #29
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Most americans are clueless about the details of our history. So yes, most Americans do hold him in contempt as a sellout.

For myself it's much more complicated. IMHO the Arnold saved the revolution twice, once at Saratoga and secondly at Battle of Lake Champlain at Valcour Island.

He did betray Washington's and the army's trust but I feel it was mainly because of his wife and secondly because congress didn't promote him. Many men have made the wrong choice when there's a woman involved.

It's more complicated then a paragraph in a HS history book.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 12:37 PM   #30
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He would probably have been more hated if he was successful in handing over West Point.

Think he is somewhat respected as one of the best American generals.

His wife was from a loyalist/tory family and helped arrange his defection. He was particularly angry about being reprimanded for corruption as well as not being promoted after exemplary service.
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