Benedict Arnold is an intriguing figure. He was both a military hero who greatly impacted and furthered the American War for Independence with his bravery on the battlefield and someone who did something unthinkable: he betrayed his country.
Stephen Brumwell, an award-winning historian and the author of Turncoat: Benedict Arnold and the Crisis of American Liberty, joins us to explore the life and deeds of Benedict Arnold and Arnold’s stunning metamorphosis from hero to traitor.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Using details from his book, Turncoat: Benedict Arnold and the Crisis of American Liberty, Stephen reveals how Benedict Arnold’s early life and childhood influenced the trajectory his adult life would take; Arnold’s heroic acts as an officer in the Continental Army; And, details and evidence for why Arnold made the decision to betray the United States and defect to the British.
What You’ll Discover
- Stephen’s interest in Benedict Arnold
- The early life and childhood of Benedict Arnold
- Arnold and the Seven Years’ War
- Arnold’s early career as an apothecary, shopkeeper, and merchant skipper
- Why Arnold chose to side first with the revolutionaries
- The seizure of Fort Ticonderoga in May 1775
- Arnold’s march through the wilderness of Maine, 1775
- Benedict Arnold and the Battle of Saratoga, 1777
- Arnold’s decision to defect to the British
- Benedict Arnold and the Continental Congress
- Arnold as the military governor of Philadelphia
- Arnold’s interactions with the British
- Why Arnold chose to betray the United States
- West Point and Arnold’s plans to hand it to the British
- How Arnold’s plans for treason unfolded
- The capture of Major John André
- Arnold in the Chesapeake
- Arnold in London and the Caribbean
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Stephen Brumwell
- Turncoat: Benedict Arnold and the Crisis of American Liberty
- George Washington: Gentleman Warrior
- British National Archives
- Omohundro Institute Annual Conference, Pittsburgh
- Episode 071: Bruce Venter, Saratoga and Hubbardton, 1777
- Episode 158: The Revolutionaries’ Army
- Episode 194: Longfellow House Washington’s Headquarters, NHS
- Episode 208: Nathaniel Philbrick, Turning Points of the American Revolution
- Episode 225: Elaine Forman Crane, The Poison Plot: Adultery & Murder in Colonial Newport
- Episode 229: Patrick Griffin, The Townshend Moment
If you could travel back in time and ask Benedict Arnold one question, what question would you ask him and why?
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