Benedict Arnold, America’s first official traitor during the American Revolution, was originally a general in the Continental Army before he switched sides to fight with the British Empire. On the American side, he had been able to be in command of the fort at West Point, New York. He unsuccessfully attempted to surrender the fort to the British. He would serve the British Empire as a Loyalist.
Benedict Arnold was considered to be one of the most accomplished leaders in the Continental Army and one of America’s best generals. It is very possible that without his help and his contributions, it is most likely that the war would have been lost and the nation would be still be fighting for their freedoms. Of course, he changed sides to help the British and his name would go done in history as a traitor for the treasonous acts that he did. Through acts of bravery and cunning, he would distinguish himself early on. In spite of all the successes that he did on the battlefield, he would not get the coveted promotions that he so wanted and desired. The successes that he did were used by other officers and they took credit for all that he did. His debt would mount and he would be investigated. His political enemies would charge him with corruption and try to get him into more trouble. He was frustrated, bitter, and mad at all that was being done to him. He finally made the fateful decision that would change his life and brand him a traitor for the rest of his life. He would change sides and begin to help the British in their fight against the colonists.
He would go after the command of West Point so he could implement the plan, but his plan was discovered before anything could happen. Major John Andre, of the British forces, was captured and it was discovered that he had the incriminating papers that would brand Arnold a traitor. Benedict Arnold discovered that he had been captured so he made a run for it. He narrowly avoided capture and would held to the British, who would make him a Brigadier General and also give him enough benefits that would set him for life. He would command the British forces in some small battles, but nothing major. He would be of contempt when the British finally stopped the warring and by 1783, the American colonies were free. Due to what Arnold had did during the war, Benedict Arnold could never go home. If he did, there would have been a trial and most likely he would have been hung for treason.
He would discover due to his duplicity, the British also did not trust him and he was also passed over for many promotions. In the years after the war, he would make many unwise business decisions in both Canada and England. On June 14, 1801, Benedict Arnold would pass away, penniless. It is said that upon his death that he wanted to be buried in his old colonial uniform and that he asked for forgiveness from God for the treasonous acts that he had done. We will most likely never know if this was true or not.
Benedict Arnold is perhaps one of the most famous of all the traitors in the American history. He is up there with John Wilkes Booth who had become famous more for his assassination of President Abraham Lincoln than for being an actor. As it is with Benedict Arnold, he would be made famous for being a traitor than an American Patriot. He will always be remembered as the man who betrayed his country.