Benedict Arnold

By Matthew Taylor

Who was He?

Benedict Arnold was a very famous American military leader during the Revolutionary War, but then became one of the most famous American traitors. Benedict was, in general, a very greedy, impatient, and pessimistic person, which lead to him betraying America.

Childhood and Family

Benedict Arnold was born on January 14, 1741 in Norwich, Connecticut. When Benedict was a teenager, his father lost his fortune and his family became poor. Benedict was not very big, and was picked on and bullied a lot in school. His father grew depressed and was often at the bar getting drunk. Benedict often had to bring his father home from the bar. This did not help Benedict's outlook on life.


Benedict went to school until his father lost his fortune when he was 11 years old. At school, Benedict was bullied a lot because his father was a drunk and his small size encouraged bullies. When he was 20, Benedict learned pharmacy trade and managed a drug store. He later became a sea captain and then joined the military. He was very good at leading and commanding, and often knew what to do in combat situations.
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Affects of Childhood

Because of his hard childhood, Benedict became rather greedy. Later in the military, he often took credit from others and made himself look like the hero. Benedict even asked to be promoted before others just so he would look more important. Money was also a big factor in his betrayal. Benedict was offered money from the British in exchange for American military intel and plans. Being the greedy person he was, he accepted.

Benedict was not Well Educated

Because Benedict wasn't in school for most of his life, he wasn't exactly the brightest. On the battlefield, he was considered one of the best, but off of the battlefield, not so much.

It is possible that maybe Benedict didn't quite see what the consequences of betraying his nation would be. Benedict was also know as a drinker, so alcohol definitely didn't help his decisions.

Benedict was not a Fan of Congress

During the Revolutionary War, Benedict felt that he wasn't getting enough support from Congress. He was always requesting more troops and more supplies. Benedict blamed Congress for the loss at the Battle of Quebec, saying that if they had listened to his requests, America would have taken the city. Arnold took 2 severe leg injuries during the war which he also blamed on Congress. Congress really aggravated Benedict, and he was not happy with their choices. He thought that Congress could have done a better job managing the war. After Benedict was finally caught helping the British, Congress issued for his arrest and put a price on his head.

Benedict and His Short Temper

Benedict naturally had a short temper. While this helped with his leading abilities, some people disliked Benedict because of it. Some thought he was too harsh and too hard on his soldiers. Benedict had a mixed reputation. Some praised him and some wanted him out of the military all together. His temper didn't help his reputation. Alcohol also affected his mood. With all the stress and responsibility that came with being a military leader, Benedict was often found in a bar. His temper and drinking habits most likely didn't help his thinking, and he could have easily not been thinking right when he made the decision to trade plans with the British.

Peggy Shippen

Peggy Shippen was a rich girl from a loyalist family, and Benedict was head-over-heels for her. Peggy and her family realized that Benedict was in a rather high position in the U.S military, and offered a trade for American plans. They offered money, a high ranking position in the British military, and a life in Britain. Benedict accepted. If Peggy hadn't been in the picture, things might have turned out differently for Benedict and America.

After the Deed was Done

Benedict fled to Britain after he was found out by Congress. He got what was promised. He got the money, his rank, and a life in Britain. Things were never quite good for Benedict for the rest of his life. The British were not very fond of him. He never got all the money, he was still a drunk. He left the military and became depressed, despite his family's efforts to help him. He died June 14, 1801 to a nervous breakdown.