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Old March 2nd, 2012, 03:49 PM   #31

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Remember, West Point isn't THE West Point it is today.
It was a small fort at a strategic river opening.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 08:03 PM   #32
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I think it's appropriate that he had a monument built at Saratoga to his injured leg which fails to use his name. In my mind, he deserved to have his actions remembered and his name erased. His jealousy and self-aggrandizing along with his wife's machinations outweighed his loyalty and dedication. He, in fact, fought and killed the men who had stood by his side in battle. This tells me that the reasons for his original feats were all based on personal glory rather than any sense of patriotism. Hate? No, but much satisfactiion that he failed to find the hero-worship he sought.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 08:43 PM   #33

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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.
As I recall, after being the most effective American general, Arnold found that inept Horatio Gates was promoted ahead of him. The "nobility" of the American cause was not that clear yet. Nevertheless, turning to the other side out of self interest is not an endearing act and he's endured as one of the better American villains. I don't know exactly how to equate Arnold with generals who equally abandoned the country they'd sworn an oath to in order to fight for the confederacy in the Civil War, which after all, was a violent insurrection. Somehow, many have interpreted that as somehow noble or at least acceptable, but Arnold is still viewed as dastardly. They seem pretty similar to me.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 08:49 PM   #34
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While I've never agreed with the reasons for the Southern defection, those soldiers did so out of a (misplaced) sense of duty. Arnold turned traitor for personal and financial reasons.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 08:59 PM   #35

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Originally Posted by skizzerflake View Post
As I recall, after being the most effective American general, Arnold found that inept Horatio Gates was promoted ahead of him. The "nobility" of the American cause was not that clear yet. Nevertheless, turning to the other side out of self interest is not an endearing act and he's endured as one of the better American villains. I don't know exactly how to equate Arnold with generals who equally abandoned the country they'd sworn an oath to in order to fight for the confederacy in the Civil War, which after all, was a violent insurrection. Somehow, many have interpreted that as somehow noble or at least acceptable, but Arnold is still viewed as dastardly. They seem pretty similar to me.
I see quite a difference between a general who continues in an American uniform while treating secretly with his supposed enemy as opposed to those government officials and military officers who openly resigned from their jobs or the armed forces in loyalty to their states. The latter are guilty of treason to America as a nation, but is it treasonable for a citizen of a sovereign state to oppose a union of sovereign states? In this case there is a good argument that those who went with their states, even though they had conscientiously opposed secession, are not treasonable. Indeed, I don't agree with that argument, but it is a reasonable argument. Obviously Andrew Johnson felt they committed treason when he said that treason is a crime that must be made odious. Yet he came around to see their point of view. Still, the radical republicans wanted to hang at least three of them, viz. Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, and Robert E. Lee. Wasn't it better for national healing that they did not?
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 09:07 PM   #36

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Originally Posted by skizzerflake View Post
I don't know exactly how to equate Arnold with generals who equally abandoned the country they'd sworn an oath to in order to fight for the confederacy in the Civil War, which after all, was a violent insurrection. Somehow, many have interpreted that as somehow noble or at least acceptable, but Arnold is still viewed as dastardly. They seem pretty similar to me.
As I see it, it was Arnold's "defection" from the British to the Americans at the start of the war that equates to the Confederate soldiers, and Washington did the same. They realized they were betraying their allegiance to the Crown, their legal government. But like the Confederate soldiers, they were faced with the unenviable situation of having to choose between two groups of people, both of whom they had been loyal to all their lives, but who were now at war with each other. No matter which said they chose, the people on the other side would call them traitors. And technically, they can be called traitors for choosing to go with the rebels against their legal government. However, I think many people feel as I do that if they made their decision at the beginning, one side or the other, and stuck loyally by that decision through thick or thin, they were not traitors.

What makes Arnold a traitor, in my own personal opinion, is that he didn't stick loyally by his original decision and his chosen people. In the midst of war he sold them out and took up arms against them. In my estimation, that doesn't equate at all to the Confederate soldiers, except the handful who switched sides during the war. I don't see Robert E. Lee as being a traitor any more than I see his father, Light Horse Harry Lee, being a traitor. But I do see Benedict Arnold as being a... well... Benedict Arnold.

Last edited by Rongo; March 2nd, 2012 at 09:49 PM. Reason: added last two sentences
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 02:07 AM   #37

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As I see it, it was Arnold's "defection" from the British to the Americans at the start of the war that equates to the Confederate soldiers, and Washington did the same. They realized they were betraying their allegiance to the Crown, their legal government. But like the Confederate soldiers, they were faced with the unenviable situation of having to choose between two groups of people, both of whom they had been loyal to all their lives, but who were now at war with each other. No matter which said they chose, the people on the other side would call them traitors. And technically, they can be called traitors for choosing to go with the rebels against their legal government. However, I think many people feel as I do that if they made their decision at the beginning, one side or the other, and stuck loyally by that decision through thick or thin, they were not traitors.

What makes Arnold a traitor, in my own personal opinion, is that he didn't stick loyally by his original decision and his chosen people. In the midst of war he sold them out and took up arms against them. In my estimation, that doesn't equate at all to the Confederate soldiers, except the handful who switched sides during the war. I don't see Robert E. Lee as being a traitor any more than I see his father, Light Horse Harry Lee, being a traitor. But I do see Benedict Arnold as being a... well... Benedict Arnold.
Exactly, well said.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 03:34 AM   #38
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He might have seemed a bit more sincere if not for the money.
and that he changed sides in the middle of the war, and was planning on turning over property that he was entrusted to guard..
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 03:35 AM   #39
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I'm not talking about any one US soldier, many would change sides to get the enlistment
bonus. But, back to the main theme: he was a rebel who decided he needed to get back
to the lawful law of the land. He went from Rebel to Tory.
He still gets a pass in my book.
You think he changed sides because he had a sudden case of loyalty to the knig?
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 05:53 AM   #40

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We have to remember that to a large extent the American War of Independence was a civil war between American Loyalists and American Patriots. The United States wasn't exactly a country, and to most people's eyes, the Patriots were rebels. There wasn't a country to betray yet....

When the War ended, a lot of Loyalists relocated to Canada, or like Arnold, to Britain. In Britain, he wasn't considered the traitor he later became in American folklore.

And it depends who would consider him a traitor....

Arnold repeated Dunmore's offer of freedom to black American slaves if they fought on the side of the Loyalists, so I doubt that black Americans at the time would've considered him a traitor. Especially when Patriots like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were trying to keep black people in slavery.

With that in mind, just as it's hard to impose modern concepts of morality on Washington and Jefferson, I consider it hard to impose modern concepts of morality on Arnold....

In my eyes, Arnold is no better and no worse a person than Jefferson and Washington.
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