By Tyler Mostofizadeh:
A baby in the town of Norwich, Connecticut in the mid-1700s was just born, a baby that would grow up to be a brave military leader, but then switch to the British side. From patriot to traitor. He was Benedict Arnold. Arnold is considered one of America’s worst traitors in history. But he was also one of America’s best military leaders. There were many times where people would look up to him as a hero. Benedict would consistently show acts of bravery and hard work. But he didn’t get much in return. On the shocking day of September 25, 1780, America found out about Arnold’s betrayal. He became the most despised person person in the country. Most to do with his personality, Benedict was a short tempered, determined, and greedy type of person.
Benedict Arnold’s temper is one of the reasons why he was a traitor. As a kid, Benedict was known as the prankster or daredevil. He was constantly getting into trouble by pulling pranks and doing dangerous tasks as a kid by one man. The town sheriff. When Arnold was 14, he had set up a prank to steal barrels full of tar from a shipyard, then to light a huge bonfire. Unfortunately this prank was shut down by the police (By Pamela Dell, from pages 13-14). Benedict was so angry, that he challenged the police officer to a fist fight. Of course that just got him into more trouble. Despite the fact that he was doing something completely illegal, when the sheriff shut it down because it was his job, he got very angry. Indeed he was so angry, he wanted to hurt the police officer and possibly kill him. That is short tempered. This wasn’t the only time though, Benedict’s outbursts of anger happened throughout his lifetime. Later in his life when he was a military general, he lead his troops through rough battles and planned great attacks on the British. When Arnold was rewarded, he wasn’t satisfied. He thought he deserved more. This made him very angry, and was one of the reasons why he switched to the British. Even on the British side, when the Revolutionary War was coming to an end, Arnold still lurked revenge. He planned an attack at New London where Benedict burned down homes, military targets, homes, and stores. Many people were killed. He became the most hated American in history (Pg. 88-89). This shows that Arnold was so angry, he was willing to burn down his hometown, and kill many of the people he used to love, because he didn’t get the respect he thought he deserved. Throughout Arnold’s acts of heroism, he is still a traitor.
Despite Arnold’s betrayal, he is a determined and brave person. Which is one of the reasons why he was a successful military leader throughout the Revolutionary War. There were times where he saw a weakness in his enemies, and took advantage of it in the blink of an eye. For example, Fort Ticonderoga was one of the very significant tasks he did. It was full of weapons that were very helpful for the patriots. He arranged an attack, but as he reached Massachusetts, he was informed news that a group of men called “The Mountain Boys” were also planning an attack. This made him mad. Despite this, Arnold met with Ethan Allen, the leader of The Mountain Boys, and they proposed the attack together. And succeeded (Pg. 38-39). This significant move by Benedict put patriots at a good position in The Revolutionary War. Even though Arnold faced an obstacle, he powered through it, made a compromise, and succeeded. Shortly after this, Benedict attempted one more dangerous mission. On May 18, without asking for permission first, Arnold sailed to St. Johns with his own troops and stole an important warship. Congress was thrilled with him (page 39). Despite the fact that he could have gotten in trouble for it, Arnold made a bold decision and created an advantage for his people. That involves determination. Arnold was very heroic and determined as military leader, and a traitor.
Throughout Benedict Arnold’s courageous acts, he was a very greedy person. As a child, Arnold’s family was one of the wealthiest in Norwich. His parents would spoil him with clothes, toys, furniture, etc. But then his Mom died and his Dad became an alcoholic. Eventually getting arrested. Making their wealth disappear. Therefore, Benedict didn’t get spoiled anymore, making him think he deserved more. This continued his whole life. Every time he was rewarded for an excellent task, he wanted more. After Fort Ticonderoga, him and Allen split the credit. Arnold on the other hand wanted more. His greediness got him in a fight with Allen, and got congress angry with him. Leaving Arnold with almost no credit at all (39-41). Because of his need for a bigger reward, he lost a lot of credit about his great decisions into taking Fort Ticonderoga. But Benedict’s greediness didn’t stop. Even after Arnold attacked New London, and killed many people, he was still greedy for revenge. Benedict wanted to make his fellow patriots suffer more (pages 91-92). Despite the fact that Arnold killed and burned the homes his former patriots, he still was greedy for more revenge and respect.
Throughout many of Benedict Arnold’s hardships, he always finished with determination. But that didn’t stop from becoming a British general. His temper and bitter greediness slowly got a rise out of him. And eventually his former enemies became the people he was protecting and covering in the cruel idea of war. Everyone knew him as the kid who challenged a police officer to a fist fight, he was the man who led his country through harsh battles, and he was the traitor who would became the most hated American in the country. People still know him now, and they will for many years to come. This man is Benedict Arnold.