Skip to main content

By: Oltiona Islami

    Who is the most notorious traitor in the history of the United States? Many people would come up with an answer to this question in a matter of seconds. They would say Benedict Arnold betrayed the United States in the worst way possible. However, what many people don’t remember when they think of Benedict Arnold is that to be that great of a traitor, you also have to be a major influence on the side that you betrayed for the betrayal to be remembered as notorious. This essay will talk about Arnold’s life before and during the war, controversies about him, and his influence.

    Benedict Arnold had an interesting life even before he betrayed America. Benedict Arnold was born on January 14th, 1741 in Norwich, Connecticut. He died on June 14th, 1801. Sixty years may not seem like a lot, but in these 60 years Arnold managed to do some good and a lot of damage. Arnold began his career in the army as soon as he could. He joined the militia in 1758 and fought intermittently until 1762. Later on in 1775, he became the captain of the Connecticut militia. In the same year, he decided that he would capture Fort Ticonderoga. However, he was not the only one with this idea. He ended up fighting alongside Ethen Allen as a co-commander, and they were successful in capturing Fort Ticonderoga. 

    Many people know about Benedict Arnold and his betrayal, but they may not know all about the controversy. The criticism began when he married a loyalist. They thought that she would sway his mind to join the British forces. He did betray America, but his wife didn’t have a major role in the betrayal. She did influence him a little bit, but he was the one who decided to betray the young nation because he felt that he didn’t get enough credit for his leadership at the Battles of Saratoga. Many people would agree that he deserved more credit, but that doesn’t make up for his notorious betrayal. The British almost gained West Point because Arnold had weakened it. After this, he ran away from the Continental Army into the arms of the British. Later, he fought alongside the British, against the people that he originally fought for, and he helped the British during some major battles.

    Benedict Arnold was an influential figure in the Revolutionary War. He helped win Fort Ticonderoga. His tactics helped save the Continental Army at the Battles of Saratoga. Many soldiers liked him because of his good leadership and tactics, so when he betrayed the American forces, there might have been other people who thought of joining him and doing the same thing. He weakened the fort at West Point, and if someone had not found out, the British might have gained a crucial advantage. Finally, after all of this, he joined the British, and he fought with them during the last few major battles.

    To summarize, Benedict Arnold helped win some major battles before he betrayed the United States. Many people have heard of the betrayal, but they may not know all about it. Additionally, Benedict Arnold influenced the turnout of battles on both sides. This essay has talked about Arnold’s life before and during the war, controversies about him, and his influence. After doing deep research on Arnold, I have come to the conclusion that Benedict Arnold was both a good and bad influence during the Revolutionary War.