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The Heroic Benedict Arnold
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The most important element in the triumph of the American colonies in their attempt to break free from Britain was their alliance with France. Britain’s historic enemy, France provided men, matériel and a distraction far more immediate and important than the annoying, insolent colonists across the Atlantic Ocean. This indispensable alliance with France can be traced back to the delaying actions on Lake Champlain in 1776 and the stunning victory over the British at Saratoga in 1777, and these military successes can be traced back to one man—Benedict Arnold.

These and Arnold’s earlier efforts at Fort Ticonderoga, his March to Quebec and various other patriotic deeds reveal nothing so much as a willing, sincere, gung-ho warrior for liberty willing to risk everything for his nascent country. He went beyond the call of duty to engage the British at Ridgefield and cleverly scared away the British besieging Fort Stanwix, not to mention his other, less significant actions and his talent for recruiting and inspiring citizens to gamble their very lives for liberty.

When viewed in total, Benedict Arnold’s accomplishments are nothing short of remarkable. It is this writer’s opinion that no single man save Washington did more for the rebellion, or was a more important factor in its success.

Why, then, is his name so instantly reviled, even today? “Because he turned traitor!” most people will knee-jerkingly say. More educated folks might add that “he tried to turn West Point over to the British—and for money!” While those might be the facts, they demand the question: why? Why did Arnold—idolized by the men under his various commands and venerated by the public as a hero in 1777—why did he switch sides and become the most hated man in the colonies by the autumn of 1780?

The answer is not as simple as “he did it for money” or “he wanted to be on (he thought) the winning side” or “he had no character.” That is the stuff of grade school teachers who lack the knowledge or time to explore the subject. No, the reasons for Arnold’s betrayal are not so facile.

A Difficult Childhood

Here was a man who had a somewhat traumatic childhood. Born in 1741 to a respectable and prosperous Norwich, Connecticut family, Arnold would lose four of five siblings to disease by his early teens, and both parents by the time he reached twenty years of age. His father (also named Benedict), a prosperous seafaring merchant, undoubtedly became depressed over the losses; his business dealings fell on bad times, as well, and he soon become the town drunk and laughingstock. The family homestead was sold to satisfy some of the family’s many debts, and the young Benedict felt humiliated by what he perceived as unfair and unwarranted treatment by his neighbors and the townsfolk. Thus, throughout his life Arnold was quick to take offense at any aspersions cast against his family and his own character (insult him and you’d risk being challenged to a duel on the spot) as well as feel outrage against injustice of any sort.

Forced to forgo his planned college education, Arnold was sent to live with industrious and successful relatives. He apprenticed and became an apothecary, occasionally sailing to the West Indies and England to purchase various inventory items. He later opened his own shop in New Haven, selling medications, books and other various and sundry items.

Later, he co-owned a few merchant ships and expanded his business ventures by trading goods between the Caribbean, American colonies and Canada. In the process, he became familiar with the rivers and lakes of New York and New England, which served him well during his later military activities in the northern theater of war. Within a decade he would build himself into one of the most prosperous men in New Haven.

Political Naiveté

By May, 1775, then-colonel Arnold had already made political enemies, starting with Ethan Allen and his cronies during the seizure of Fort Ticonderoga, prevaricators with axes to grind who ran to Congress to tell their distorted versions of events long before Arnold had his chance.

Unfortunately, Arnold had few allies in the Continental Congress, whose members often believed his adversaries’ mendacious tales. Eventually, Arnold became fed up with it. He also attempted to resign his military commission on two occasions due to being unjustly passed over for promotion and the repudiation of his rightful seniority. On top of this, Arnold had to practically beg Congress to reimburse him for money paid out of pocket for supplies and other expenses which were duly owed to him. During his time in the military, Arnold had lost practically everything he owned in the service of the revolution, and he was never even close to being fully compensated by Congress (or later, by the British). Injustice piled upon injustice.

No Kudos and a Ruined Leg

After his stirring performance at Saratoga, he got no credit whatsoever from General Gates, who somehow became the “hero” of the battles despite staying in his tent the whole time and doing nothing of importance. Then Arnold spent five painful months on his back, recuperating from his shattered (almost amputated) leg, doubtless brooding over the many abuses he’d endured. The wounded limb ended up two inches shorter than its companion, and Arnold walked with a pronounced limp the rest of his life.

Disillusioned by all of the above, Arnold sent a letter to George Washington in March, 1778, implying that from then on he would be “looking out for Number One”—placing himself and his personal matters at the top of his list. In June of that year Washington, eager to keep his best fighting general in the war, even if he wasn’t yet fit for combat, appointed Arnold the military governor of Philadelphia, the most populous city in the colonies and their unofficial capital. Clashes with Congress as well as Pennsylvania state government officials soon followed. A major source of conflict was that the latter group wanted to punish loyalists who had consorted with the British while they were in control of the city, whereas Arnold felt that no such vendetta was warranted and he would not allow it.

By the time of his appointment to Philadelphia, Arnold had become seriously unhappy with the war effort. Aside from his concerns of a personal nature, he was distressed by the waning support of the general public, the colonies’ deteriorating currency, dissatisfaction within the army, and above all a Congress of petty, selfish and tyrannical Radical Patriots who had lost sight of the revolution’s very principles and goals. A year later, he concluded that living under an American government would have worse consequences for liberty than under the British, which many believe was his major reason for renouncing the patriot cause.

In May, 1779, Arnold wrote in another letter to Washington, “Having made every sacrifice of fortune and blood, and become a cripple in the service of my country, I little expected to meet the ungrateful returns I have received of my countrymen; but, as Congress have stamped ingratitude as a current coin, I must take it. I wish your Excellency, for your long and eminent services, may not be paid in the same coin.” Arnold sent feelers to the British, offering his services, a few days later. His strong conviction was that the colonies were not yet ready for independence, and that Congress would grant considerably less freedom than the British crown. Negotiations went back and forth for over a year.

I suspect the ultimate blow for Arnold occurred after his court-martial for largely trumped-up and spiteful “transgressions” brought by Pennsylvania’s quasi-governor Joseph Reed. He was cleared of all the accusations except for two minor charges, and Congress instructed George Washington to reprimand Arnold. Washington put off the chastisement for three months, and made it as insignificant as he could, but he issued this statement in April, 1780:

Washington’s Rebuke: the Last Straw?

“The Commander-in-Chief would have been much happier in an occasion of bestowing commendations on an officer who had rendered such distinguished services to his country as Major General Arnold; but in the present case, a sense of duty and a regard to candor oblige him to declare that he considers his conduct [in the convicted actions] as imprudent and improper.”

It was a slap on the wrist, but it is easy to understand Arnold’s dismay. One of the few major players who had always stood by him and appreciated him, who had valued all the efforts and sacrifices he’d made, who had always extolled his accomplishments and contributions—the commander-in-chief himself—even Washington had abandoned him. To Arnold, it was an “Et tu, Brute?” event….

Modern research indicates that about twenty percent of the population at the time was loyalist—faithful to Britain and opposed to the revolution. Certainly many others switched their allegiance back and forth, depending upon which side was currently in power locally. Philadelphia residents were prime examples of this, with many leaning toward the British when they occupied the city and toward the Americans when they were in charge. The country was simply in a state of flux, and one’s loyalties were often modified to help ensure survival. It was a tenuous time.

So why is Benedict Arnold alone remembered so stubbornly as the traitor to the revolutionary cause when there were countless others, including every loyalist? (By the way, every patriot was, ipso facto, a traitor to mother country England. If the revolution had failed, Washington, his high command and the most active founders would certainly have been hanged.)

The Answer

The answer is that Arnold had achieved a towering degree of fame fighting for the patriot cause, second only to Washington. If someone of his military stature and dedication could switch his loyalty to the British, who knew how many ordinary people might follow his example? To nullify the shock and sadness of Arnold’s defection and prevent a massive loss of support for the revolution, Arnold had to be vilified. So he was burned in effigy. Absurd stories were invented about him: he tortured animals as a child, was dangerously reckless and a bully in his youth, considered money his god, consorted with the devil, etc. The proof of this pudding is that the emotions which would have made sense at the time are anxiety and sorrow. In fact, this is what Washington expressed when he learned of Arnold’s defection. “Whom can we trust now?” he cried out.

Yes, Arnold betrayed the revolution (although technically not his country, since it didn’t exist until the Articles of Confederation were ratified in March, 1781). Yes, his plan to turn over the critical fort at West Point, New York (named Fort Arnold until his betrayal, by the way) to the British was worse than merely switching sides.

However, considering all that Arnold accomplished as a patriot during the revolution, considering all the slights, insinuations, accusations and hardships he endured, and considering everything he had honestly earned prior to the conflict which he sacrificed in the service of liberty, I wonder how many of his contemporaries—and how many of us living today—would do other than what Arnold chose to do, which was to reject the rebellion against, and once again pledge allegiance to, his mother country.

(By the way, Arnold the so-called “characterless traitor” published a newspaper piece on October 11th, 1780, explaining his decision, entitled “To the Inhabitants of America.” Also, as a brigadier general in the field for the British, he knew he would be hanged if captured in battle. This was not a man who lacked the courage of his convictions.)

The Most Brilliant Soldier

At the Saratoga National Historical Park in New York, there is a small stone monument behind an iron fence. On its front is a boot, symbolizing Arnold’s left leg which was crushed during the battle. The other side reads, in part:

In Memory of the “most brilliant soldier” of the Continental Army, who was desperately wounded on this spot, the sally port of Burgoyne’s Great Western Redoubt, 7th October, 1777 winning for his countrymen the Decisive Battle of the American Revolution….

Arnold was indeed the most brilliant soldier of the Continental Army. If he hadn’t been injured at Saratoga, he would have likely defeated Burgoyne’s army right then and there, instantly attaining heroic status (no matter what lies Gates might have spun). If he had died at Saratoga, his legacy would have been legendary. In either case, today cities, counties and perhaps even a state would be named after him. Statues of Arnold would be standing in parks nationwide and his monument would be visited by throngs of people in the District of Columbia every day. Paintings of his exploits would be hanging in museums, parents would still be naming their sons Benedict, and tales of his bravery would be told as object lessons to young children. Arnold would be remembered as the second most important and revered figure of the American Revolution. Without him, it would not have succeeded.

• Category: History • Tags: American Revolution, Benedict Arnold 
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  1. If the revolution had failed, Washington, his high command and the most active founders would certainly have been hanged.

    Had they been caught. French territory wasn’t that far away, and Washington was a woodland surveyor.

    And that assumes Britain winning in a rout. Had they merely sued for peace, they’d more likely have let the leaders go into exile.

    His father (also named Benedict)

    The father was the fourth in a line of Benedicts. The first served a term as “President” of Rhode Island.

    Modern research indicates that about twenty percent of the population at the time was loyalist…

    Including the teenage Mrs Arnold. This part isn’t mentioned here. But if anything would make one more forgiving of Arnold, that would be it. She put him up to it.

  2. Traitors are patriots. Patriots are traders. Read Borges sub-literates.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  3. anonymous[861] • Disclaimer says:

    A belly-aching whiner in wartime, when everybody’s fortunes suck. Now I think even less of him. I had formerly assumed he had some noble reason to go Red.

    Not that I’d have got involved in the Revolution myself. Civilization sucks. It matters little who is in charge of the governance, French, Brits, Yankees, Southrons, whatever. I’d have probably been making my way further West, maybe be a mountain man, live more Injun style. In pursuit of happiness.

    An infinitely greater degree of happiness.

    I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under European governments.

    From Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 16 January 1787

    • Replies: @bomag
  4. Dan Hayes says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Reg Caesar:

    Surprising that Mrs Arnold’s perfidy wasn’t discussed in this very interesting article. I believe that her distraction of Washington provided coverage for her husband’s getaway.

    • Replies: @Alden
  5. Wow, what a totally bizarre and illogical article. In fact, I think this may be one of the least cogent long form arguments I have ever read on the internet. If it wasn’t written in such a plodding, self-serious tone, I would have assumed that it was some sort of Onion style satire.

    I clicked on the link wondering if there would be some shocking revelation that would totally upend my understanding of the American Revolutionary War, but the substance of the essay fails to deliver on the inflammatory thesis and the snide, condescending tone of the first few paragraphs.

    Benedict Arnold is remembered as a despicable traitor on the order of Judas or Brutus because of the simple fact that he committed treason of the highest magnitude. Specifically, he attempted to surrender West Point—an incredibly important post which, contrary to the article’s whining about his poor treatment, he had only been given due to the extraordinary trust George Washington placed in him—and subsequently led British soldiers in battle against his own countrymen. Indeed, if that wasn’t enough to utterly damn him, at the Battle of Groton Heights, following the surrender of the American garrison at Fort Griswold, he led British soldiers in massacring the defenders.

    This article does not contest these elementary facts, though it conveniently fails to mention the obviously highly relevant facts of his leadership of British soldiers in combat against American ones and massacre of American prisoners. From these facts, one would logically draw the conclusion that Arnold was indeed a traitor who is deservedly remembered even by the most historically ignorant as such.

    What does it argue instead? Evidently three things:

    1. Benedict Arnold was a great soldier
    2. Benedict Arnold committed treason because he didn’t get enough personal glory and suffered privations, which is understandable
    3. A substantial fraction of Americans sided with the Loyalist cause, so it is unfair to single Arnold out

    All points are clearly absurd. Arnold was indeed a talented soldier, which makes his abandonment of his country in its hour of need to use his talents to aid its enemies all the more reprehensible. If Arnold simply wanted more personal glory, and if we grant that this is a perfectly understandable goal, he chose the worst possible way to go about it, and he would have obviously had more glory in the end had he loyally fought for his country. Of course, the point of the American Revolution was not to offer Benedict Arnold the chance to win personal glory, but to defend the liberties and safety of Americans.

    As far as the claim that Arnold suffered greatly, so did many thousands of other Americans, both soldiers and civilians, in Thomas Paine’s eloquent phrase the “winter soldiers”. They nonetheless loyally served their country, unlike Arnold.

    The tu quoque about other Americans siding with the British is of course fallacious by its very nature, but especially so given that 1) Arnold was a top ranking military officer whose treason was vastly more consequential 2) Arnold did not join the British at the outset, but swore loyalty to the American cause and opportunistically defected later and 3) many ordinary Loyalists were in fact treated (unjustly, in my view) quite harshly during and after the war, and were often expelled and/or had their property expropriated.

    If we’re going to indulge in hypothetical possibilities, if Benedict Arnold had loyally served his country to the end of the war, he would indeed be remembered, to the extent that such men of distant eras are ever remembered, as an able and courageous servant of his nation. The fault was not in his stars, but in him.

  6. T’is a good thing he fought for the colonists. And i agree, if not for the french no successful revolution.

    Appreciated this article. And rare it is anyone who admits anyone in rebellion was a traitor engaged in treason.

    • Troll: MikeatMikedotMike
    • Replies: @George
  7. Sean says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    She knew he could get it up.

  8. Sean says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    The early Revolutionary army would regularly burn the Pope in effigy, Arnold had a point when he said he stayed the same and Washington changed. Just being neutral got a family terrorized by Revolutionary mobs, but when placed in charge of a district, Arnold refused to allow Lynch Law, the mobs did not like that. It is silly to think a man notorious for brawling as youth and then dueling and who was twice wounded leading charges from the front had let his wife tell him what to do, especially as it was, like most things he did, very risky and likely to result in his death leaving her a window. A woman in that era was did not really have opinions of her own opposing her husbands. The obey part of the vows meant just back then. The extremely serious wound he suffered and the months of recuperation in agony may have altered him though. Cheney’s heart attacks are said to have affected his judgement quite a bit.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Skeptikal
    , @Alden
  9. Sean says:
    @Stolen Valor Detective

    Early in the war George Washington was (like Lincoln) short of aggressive and competent commanders willing to wager against the odds. Arnold became less necessary when the French came in to do the heavy lifting.

  10. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Stolen Valor Detective

    Thanks for taking the time to eloquently rebut the essay. I clicked on the article for the same reason, but lack your background knowledge.

    Now, perhaps the author will defend against your criticisms, and we will all end up learning something.

  11. bomag says:

    A belly-aching whiner

    Too harsh. He put up with a lot and kept going.

    Highlights the importance of rewarding merit; a lesson for today where the doers are blamed for the non-accomplishment of the usual suspects.

  12. Every once in a while, while walking to Paddington Station in London, I pass a house on Gloucester Place with a small plaque outside that reads,

    “Major General Benedict Arnold American Patriot resided here from 1796 until his death on June 14, 1801.”

    He had a colourful career, to say the least, in British Canada, the West Indies, and Britain itself in the years after the rebellion, including a duel with the Earl of Lauderdale, but ultimately got tossed in an unmarked grave when the churchyard in which he was originally interred was dug up for renovations. Fame and glory are fleeting.

  13. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    A quick online search just now suggests that the author has been developing a Benedict Arnold game. I would like to know if this is so, and how he came to see Benedict Arnold as sympathetic.

  14. A fine addition to the Arnold story. The propaganda I received in my American education was that he was well thought of but had internal political enemies that soured him on the revolution. The focus has always been on the souring. This article covers the lead-up to the souring.
    Further research would uncover that Arnold’s instincts about the American political establishment proved to be, if anything, understated. Congressional actors, Robert Morris and Alexander Hamilton conspired to buy up Continentsls for pennies on the dollar, from soldiers and suppliers, and then had those Continentals redeemed at full face value and then established the fine American custom of handing the bill for this largesse to the American taxpayer. Sound familiar. Robert Morris is is averred made millions. Hamilton was apparently more resrtained, perhaps by his own pocketbook and blew off the criticism by saying he did it for his brother-in-law who was going through a flat spot. Arnold was right about one thing, the colonial confederation government stank, and what possible good would proceed from that? And as Paul Harvey would say, look at the rest of the story. Drain the Swamp? Make America Great Again? Arnold may have had it right: give it your all up until you discover you are fighting for a tissue of lies and against whom? Great Britain up until King George the VII, it could be argued was indeed, a great empire.

    • Replies: @Pat Pappano
  15. The USA Civil War seems similar to Brexit, where, on the Brussels side, also moral values are flying around, in what really is just a Brussels effort not to lose subjects, or even far worse, other countries following the British example.
    But the Arnold story reminded me of Pétain, who did far more for the French people, together with Laval, than De Gaulle.
    At the end of 1944 Pétain prevented a French civil war, by giving De Gaulle the power.
    Pétain at the age of 91 or so went into prison, where he died, Laval was executed.
    Robert Aron, ‘Histoire de Vichy 1940 1944’, Paris 1954
    René de Chambrun, ‘Pierre Laval devant l’histoire’, 1983, Paris

    • Agree: Curmudgeon
  16. @Pat Pappano

    I meant Edward VII, the dissolute son of Victoria and Albert. His father Albert wrote to him: “Am I to think you a beast?”

  17. George says:

    “And i agree, if not for the french no successful revolution.”

    If no French, no regime change. But events in Europe would continue, the French revolution and rise of Napoleon. If the American Revolution War ran on into the 1800s (like the current Iraqistan wars) the British would have had to confront both Bonaparte and the American insurrection at the same time.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
    , @Hank Yobo
  18. You want some real truth, start with a look at one of our greatest hero’s, George Washington. Although not the biggest fan of Stefan Molyneux , this expose’ on Washington was a real eye opener. It is over 2.5 hours long but well worth the listen if you are into revisionist history.

    • Agree: Kiza
  19. @Stolen Valor Detective

    It seems that you don’t get it. Arnold had betrayed his “country” – Britain, by joining the rebellion cum revolution. He may have betrayed the rebellion/revolution, but not his country, as the US did not yet exist. Had he not been militarily successful, there was every likelihood that the rebellion would not have succeeded.
    Americans today, cannot conceive the difference in government that existed at the time. Under the non-constitutional British system, you had every freedom, unless there was a law prohibiting it. Constitutions enumerate rights and legal principals require that the enumerates rights and excludes everything not enumerated. The quagmire of the Supreme Court rulings on constitutional issues, is how they interpret the non-specified rights as fitting into, or covered by, the specified rights. That is an entirely political process, and has little to do with “law”.

    Arnold, I suggest, saw the type of people that the new system was attracting, and foresaw all of the pond scum/swamp creatures that fill the political scene today. Ironically, as “democracy” advanced in Britain, it has led to the same types of creatures in both countries.

  20. anon[317] • Disclaimer says:

    societies (as the Indians) which live without [central top down permanent] government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under European governments.

    The Indian societies had consensual governments, power of the leaders was limited to presenting the alternatives. the decisions were made, hierarchically according to age and experience, by an informed contributing, fully participating membership, Such societies were voting but not every vote was valued the same.: the vote had value and its value was enhanced by experience, age and Putin like reluctance.

    Such societies did not vote on, or appoint leadership, leadership was earned as a matter of performance not reputation, experience not family or racial background, and age not education. This is a form of government in which propagandist were executed on the liars

    There is no place in the world for governments whose members operate in secret, no place for Oligarch wealth singularities [individual or corporate], everyone’s ability, assets, and resources even wives and children were part of the whole, and the whole suffered feast or famion in perpetual equality.


    What separates an Oligarch from an under the bridge hobo is monopoly power or rule of law created property rights.
    Without laws that that create, from thin air, monopoly powers, no one is for themselves, everyone is for everyone else.

    if no one could own the oil in the world, there would be no wars over oil. rights

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  21. Hopefully, there is a lesson in the article given the state of the Deep State and the American public in the presently vitiated atmosphere of mutual distrust.

  22. Anonymous[631] • Disclaimer says:

    True, bro, true.

    Our system of private property in land forces landless men to work for others; to work in factories, stores, and offices, whether they like it or not. Wherever access to land is free, men work only to provide what they actually need or desire. Wherever the white man has come in contact with savage cultures this fact becomes apparent. There is for savages in their native state no such sharp distinction between “work” and “not working” as clocks and factory whistles have accustomed the white man to accept. They cannot be made to work regularly at repetitive tasks in which they have no direct interest except by some sort of duress. Disestablishment from land, like slavery, is a form of duress. The white man, where slavery cannot be practiced, has found that he must first disestablish the savages from their land before he can force them to work steadily for him. Once they are disestablished, they are in effect starved into working for him and into working as he directs. -Ralph Borsodi, This Ugly Civilization (Simon and Schuster, 1929)

  23. Anonymous[309] • Disclaimer says:
    @Stolen Valor Detective

    I think you are maybe reading too much into this article. Sure BA was a traitor and the author does not go into the most damaging parts. But I think this kind of article is just to provide a different perspective, not to change people’s minds.

    I didn’t know a lot of those details and it helps fill in the blanks of why he would do such a thing.

    I think the authors point is that BA was a great man, and that BA’s betrayal and his treatment that led up to his betrayal was tragic. BA’s actions should not be glossed over, but neither should the way he way treated be either.

    It was not only a war for the nation state of America, but it was a war against the nepotism and corruption and unfairness of Britain. I I definately see how demoralizing it would be to fight a war for freedom, and sacrificing a lot, and then realize the war was about who your master was going to be.

    It is easy for us to judge BA now, but America late in the revolutionary war and after it was a mess. No one knew if America was going to work out and what our future would hold.

  24. @Stolen Valor Detective

    Talk about snide — you take the cake with your first two paragraphs!…. You claim the article’s three main points below are absurd, but you are wrong.

    1. Benedict Arnold was a great soldier
    2. Benedict Arnold committed treason because he didn’t get enough personal glory and suffered privations, which is understandable
    3. A substantial fraction of Americans sided with the Loyalist cause, so it is unfair to single Arnold out

    As to #1, in your next paragraph you say he was a talented soldier. You contradict yourself. And he was the best fighting general of the war.

    #2, you didn’t read the entire article. He concluded that living under an American government would have worse consequences for liberty than under the British. He reached his limits.

    #3. the writer didn’t say it was unfair to single out Arnold. He said that he is remembered as “the traitor.” The only one.

  25. bjondo says:

    How do Bolton, the Kagans, Wolfowitz, Kristol, Perle, Cheney, Rumsfeld, McCains, Grahams (Lindsey and Bob) as traitors compare to Arnold?

    Let the hangings begin.

  26. republic says:

    The British did not have a very high opinion of BA when he was living in exile in the UK

    One critic called him a “mean mercenary, who, having adopted a cause for the sake of plunder, quits it when convicted of that charge.”

    “Although I am satisfied with the purity of your conduct, the generality do not think so. As while this is the case, no power in this country could suddenly place you in the situation you aim at under the East India Company.” (George Johnstone, Director of the East India Company)

    BA had sought a position with that company

  27. @George

    When I say if not for the French, I speak materially, but also financially, some of which came out of the personal finances of french supporters. But your comment goes to another issue – an important one. Great Britain did not take the revolution as seriously as they might have had they not already been engaged on in global conflicts.

    Ultimately naps during wartime conditions are a lousy choice. As someone who would have been loyal to the crown – it easy to understand the response of Gen Arnold to the treatment by his own. And this article makes it clearer than any I have read or seen — his own country men besmirched his honor. No good deed . . .

    millions of the presidents supporters know the feeling, i am sure.

  28. Respect says:

    ” The most important element in the triumph of the American colonies in their attempt to break free from Britain was their alliance with France ”

    Ok, whatever you say .

    But why yankees always ( deliberately ? ) ignore the Spanish ( from Spain and Spanish America ) contribution to the independence of the US ? , it was a very important contribution .

    I don`t know if this omission ( lie by omission ) is just ignorance , bad faith towards Spain , a manifestation of yankee antihispanic racism , or what . Shame on you .

    • Replies: @Hunsdon
    , @Haxo Angmark
  29. If Dante hadn’t antedated Arnold by a few centuries, he might have placed him with Lucifer and other traitors at the center of hell. And regarding his record in New York ..

  30. Respect says:

    some examples from
    and links

    Luis de Córdova y Córdova (8 February 1706 – 29 July 1796) was a Spanish admiral. He is best known for his command of the Spanish fleet during the Anglo-Spanish War. His best remembered actions were the capture of two British convoys totalling 79 ships between 1780 and 1782, including the capture of 55 ships from a convoy composed of Indiamen, and other cargo ships 60 leagues off Cape St. Vincent.[1][2] ……

    On the mainland, the governor of Spanish Louisiana, Count Bernardo de Gálvez, led a series of successful offensives against the British forts in the Mississippi Valley, first the attack and capture of Fort Bute at Manchac and then forcing the surrender of Baton Rouge, Natchez and Mobile in 1779 and 1780.[15] While a hurricane halted an expedition to capture Pensacola, the capital of British West Florida, in 1780, Gálvez’s forces achieved a decisive victory against the British in 1781 at the Battle of Pensacola giving the Spanish control of all of West Florida. This secured the southern route for supplies and closed off the possibility of any British offensive into the western frontier of United States via the Mississippi River. …….

    The Spanish also assisted in the Siege of Yorktown in 1781, the critical and final major battle of the North America theater. French General Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, commanding his country’s forces in North America, sent a desperate appeal to François Joseph Paul de Grasse, the French admiral designated to assist the Colonists, asking him to raise money in the Caribbean to fund the campaign at Yorktown. With the assistance of Spanish agent Francisco Saavedra de Sangronis, the needed cash, over 500,000 in silver pesos, was raised in Havana, Cuba within 24 hours. This money was used to purchase critical supplies for the siege, and to fund payroll for the Continental Army.[18] …….


    • Replies: @utu
  31. It didn’t take “The New Atlantis” long to become the same as the “Old Crown”. People learned once more the only way a government can exist is if it is paid for by monies taken from the citizens, if need be at the point of a gun.

  32. Any relevant consideration of Benedict Arnold must not exclude reference and comment upon the true traitor in the narrative, Aaron Burr.

    Historian Anton Chaitkin’s classic Treason In America: From Aaron Burr to Averell Harriman is essential to a mature understanding of the battle between Republicanism and the foe of oligarchism embodied by the British Empire.

    Chaitkin’s first chapter is Benedict Arnold Reconsidered, which is found under the Part I heading The British-Swiss Secret Service in America. and commences with an examination of Burr, the assassin of Alexander Hamilton, who with the other principle Anglo-Swiss secret agent Alexander Gallatin, presaging and and correlating to the same forces of the financial oligarchy in control of the Federal Reserve exemplified by Volker and Greenspan….Austerity and Usary.

    Chaitkin’s research relevantly reveals that Burr’s pedigree brings together

    ” famous anti-rationalist theologician, Jonathon Edwards, and Sarah Pierrepont, whose family intermarried with the (J.P.) Morgans, later the owners of the New York Times. Ysking an extreme form of the anti-free will doctrine of Geneva’s John Calvin as a starting point, Edwards was at the same time an apostle of the British Determinist philosohers Hobbs, Locke and Hume. The result was a particularly savage notion of Man forced to submit blindly to the capricious will of an incomprehensible God. A counterpole to the ideas of progress expressed by the Pilgrim Fathers, Edwards was applauded as America’s greatest original mind by the royalist reactionaries of Europe”

    Today with the present British Coup against Trump, pushed by the New York Times, et al, the poison fruit of treason does not fall far from the root of what is the present battle. A battle it should be noted where Chaitkin, as part of the Labor Committees around Lyndon LaRouche were attacked by the likes of the Robert Meuller, working for the British, and to which now with the release of the FISA Documents, President Trump is working against the same forces of the British financial oligarchy in the continuation of the same battle.

  33. Unlike “Granny Gates”, Arnold was held in high esteem by the men who served under him, as well as by Washington (towards whom Arnold was known to harbor some jealousy). And, yes, he was the true hero of Saratoga. Which makes his subsequent defection to the Brits all the more tragic. Arnold’s problem–a malady which effects all mankind to one degree or another–was his ego. And it was his ego that eventually led him to change sides. Interestingly enough, for all his military prowess (he and Nathaniel Greene were indispensable to the cause), his service with Britain turned out to be relatively uneventful. And there is some evidence to suggest that he was held at arms length by the British high command for what may be considered “character flaws”.

  34. @QuasiQuasimodo

    As to #1, in your next paragraph you say he was a talented soldier. You contradict yourself. And he was the best fighting general of the war.

    You haven’t been following the argument. It went like:

    American history textbooks: Benedict Arnold was a traitor.

    Andrew S. Fischer: ACTUALLY he was a great soldier, so why is he remembered as a traitor?

    Me: The fact that he was a great soldier doesn’t negate his treason; in fact it worsens it.

    You: Benedict Arnold was a great soldier!

    #2, you didn’t read the entire article. He concluded that living under an American government would have worse consequences for liberty than under the British. He reached his limits.

    I didn’t think the author was very serious about that claim, given how little space he spent on it. He quotes Arnold multiple times bemoaning his lack of personal recognition, but seemingly never reflecting on the broader issues of the war’s morality. Given the available evidence, it seems much more likely that Arnold decided to defect for personal gain to what he thought would be the winning side, and very conveniently found that once he did it also happened to the more moral side, which for some reason he couldn’t have deduced at the war’s outset.

    #3. the writer didn’t say it was unfair to single out Arnold. He said that he is remembered as “the traitor.” The only one.

    The author wrote:

    So why is Benedict Arnold alone remembered so stubbornly as the traitor to the revolutionary cause when there were countless others, including every loyalist?

    Clearly implying that it was unfair that Arnold is remembered as such. I pointed out that Arnold’s treason was highly consequential and that first he swore loyalty to the American cause before defecting. Thus, it is natural that he would individually be remembered as a traitor, as opposed to random low-ranking Loyalists who joined the British at the outset. I further pointed out that, while probably many Americans today are indeed ignorant of this, ordinary Loyalists were in fact treated quite harshly during and after the American Revolution. Thus, Arnold has not been unjustly singled out in any way.

    • Agree: Logan
    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  35. It took a long battle for the colonists to secede from the Crown but it was worth it because they ended up being more heavily taxed by their new Government.

  36. @Anonymous

    I agree with many of those points, but I wouldn’t have had a problem with the essay if it all it attempted to do was point out those facts. Instead, it argues, as per the title “the Heroic Benedict Arnold”, the much more bold claim that Arnold was a hero who has been unjustly maligned as a traitor, which seemed clearly incorrect to me.

    • Replies: @Precious
    , @Anonymous
  37. @Sean

    It is silly to think a man notorious for brawling as youth and then dueling and who was twice wounded leading charges from the front had let his wife tell him what to do…

    That was a joke. But women were far tougher in that era than they are now. She was clearly part of the plot. She had to feign ignorance and illness to get out of West Point herself.

    My real point is that she was just as American as he was– her family founded Shippensburg– so Arnold’s actions wouldn’t have felt like treason to him. Hell, most of our elected officials today are more treasonous than Arnold ever was.

    However, if he didn’t turn on his country, he did turn on his army. Lawrence Auster explained it as he had every right to resign his commission and go home to Philadelphia. But he took it a step too far.

  38. @obwandiyag

    I find the last three letters of your screen name rather revealing. Indeed, the last five.

    But your anagram is best:

    “Yo! A windbag!”

  39. @Stolen Valor Detective

    I was fine until your last comment . .

    General Benedict Arnold is held to the US citizen as Judas to the christian. And it is that vein in which such references to the Gen’s name is most oft utilized.

    Under the descriptions — the comparison and use is clearly uniquely signaling out Benedict Arnold as the US Judas.

    General Lee was truly a traitor to his country yet we honor him as hero. Just a thought.

  40. Respect says:

    Yes Hunsdon , ignorance , or deliberate bias , I don`t know what is worse .

    Given the importance of the spanish contribution to american independence ( I am not opinating on the french contribution ) it is reasonable that that it should be recognized , at least recognized
    by the US and the american people , don`t you think so ? .

    Read my entries and links , with historic facts , and tell me what do you think .

    another link , with an extract of the link

    ” Diego de Gardoqui, the fourth of eight children, was the financial intermediary between the Spanish Court and the Colonies during the American Revolutionary War, meeting with John Jay on various occasions. He was a Basque and a member of the wealthy Gardoqui family of Bilbao, Spain.[1] The mercantile business of “José de Gardoqui e Hijos” in Bilbao (of which Diego was one of three sons in a partnership with their father) supplied the patriots with 215 bronze cannon, 30,000 muskets, 30,000 bayonets, 51,314 musket balls, 300,000 pounds of powder, 12,868 grenades, 30,000 uniforms, and 4,000 field tents during the war. After the Revolution he became Spain’s envoy to the United States. …..

    This war material armed the yankee army in the battle of Saratoga

  41. Precious says:
    @Stolen Valor Detective

    The title is there to grab our attention. Having read a sizable novel on Benedict Arnold a few years ago that portrayed him in a similar light to this article, I do now admire the guy for his courage and success, both before, during and after the war.

    I am sure I would feel differently if I had been living in the 1770s but with a couple of hundred years gone by we can look at the whole situation more dispassionately. If a few of his narcissistic tormentors had just laid off on the gaslighting, he probably wouldn’t have switched sides.

  42. Respect says:

    Hunsdon : another link if you care , the english ships intercepted by Spanish admiral Luis de Cordova were bound for the english troops in America the main convoy , and for India .

    this intercepted british material never arrived to the british troops in America ( the american rebels were happy I would say ) :

    The Spaniards captured 55 of the 63 British merchant vessels, making it one of the most complete naval captures ever made.[11] The British lost 80,000 muskets, equipment for 40,000 troops, 294 cannons (the normal British troop size during the American Independence War was 40,000 troops), . The financial impact of the losses were estimated to be around £1,500,000[12] (£1,000,000 in gold and £500,000 – £600,000 in equipment and ships)…….


  43. Anonymous[997] • Disclaimer says:

    General Lee was not a traitor to his country, Virginia, back when the United States was said as plural, not singular.

    From the Virginia ratification, 26 June 1788: “The People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will.”

    All you’ve done is reveal yourself as a Soviet-style collectivist.

    • Replies: @JerseyJeffersonian
  44. @EliteCommInc.

    And you sir, must be one of Lincoln’s RED REPUBLICAN’S
    “Many patriots these days lament that the Republican Party has ‘lost its way’ and ‘gone wrong.’ It has ‘diverged’ from the fiscally responsible, small government philosophy of Republican heroes like Robert Taft whom Eisenhower’s handlers finagled out of the nomination for President in 1952. We are told that is why today’s Republican Establishment hates Dr. Ron Paul with such a passion; that they hate him because, like Taft, he is the quintessential Republican. Patriots who say that are mistaken, of course. The reason the Republican Establishment hates Dr. Paul is precisely that he is not a traditional, mainstream Republican, that his platform of freedom is an aberration. The Republican Party didn’t ‘go wrong,’ didn’t ‘go left.’

    It has been wrong from the beginning, from the day it was founded. From the beginning, the Republican Party has worked without deviation for bigger, more imperial government, for higher taxes, for more wars, for more totalitarianism. From the beginning, the Republican Party has been Red.”

  45. Respect says:


    and see how the patriots used spanish money , pesos de a ocho reales , mexican silver , from which derived the dolar

  46. No slights, no injustices, no ingratitude or congressional folly, can possibly justify anyone for taking sides with the monsters who did this:

    • Replies: @Hank Yobo
    , @Anon
    , @Logan
  47. @EliteCommInc.

    “I was fine until your last comment . . ”

    Thanks for sharing; no one cares.

    “General Benedict Arnold is held to the US citizen as Judas to the christian. And it is that vein in which such references to the Gen’s name is most oft utilized. ”

    So what.

    “Under the descriptions — the comparison and use is clearly uniquely signaling out Benedict Arnold as the US Judas. ”

    In context to what SVD said this comment is nothing more than obfuscation.

    “General Lee was truly a traitor to his country yet we honor him as hero. Just a thought.”

    This is an absurd equivalence, and worthy of no further rebuke. I already used up my “TROLL” action for you in a different comment (maybe RU should add a “CLOWN” action), so I’ll just type it at the end of this: TROLL.

  48. @Respect

    the Spanish contribution, while significant, was largely financial.

    the French contribution, at Yorktown alone, was decisive. Upon learning from Cornwallis that a French naval squadron was in blockade and cutting off all his supplies, the Brit command at NYC sent down a strong flotilla under a first-rate Admiral – Hood – with orders to smash the blockade. Instead, O Wonder of Wonders, the French fleet – under deGrasse – turned about smartly, got the weather gauge, and administered a royal beating to the Brits…who limped back to NY minus a 44-gun Ship of the Line and with others badly damaged. That saved the victory at Yorktown and the entire War of Colonial Secession, a.k.a. the “American Revolution”.

    • Replies: @Respect
  49. I found this article informative and for those who criticize Arnold as a traitor, remember that George Washington and the rest of the anti-Brits were traitors as well, and that’s not to say that I have any affection for the Brit empire or think that traitors are necessarily evil.

    Besides being a traitor himself, Washington certainly was no saint and his actions against troops who wanted to leave the army after their terms expired as well as to his fellow Americans (e.g.,Whiskey rebellion) prove it. Additionally he advocated and ordered terrorism against Indians, and was known to the Iroquois as Conotocarious or Village Destroyer.

    Orders of George Washington to General John Sullivan, at Head-Quarters May 31, 1779,

    But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them.

    Also, Arnold’s treatment at the hands of leading political busybodies reminds me of Thomas Paine’s abandonment while he was locked up in Paris. The “republic” has a less than pristine history than most people know or want to believe, and it’s no wonder that Patrick Henry quipped, when refusing to attend the convention in Philly, that he smelled a rat. The odor must’ve been overpowering since there were many. No wonder we’re what we are today. ( A stinking, perfidious, over taxed, Commie and Zionist supporting gulag of wage, tax and debt slaves where treachery was baked into the cake from the start.)

    Note to those who can’t stand the truth.: Don’t come whining to me!

    • Replies: @Sowhat
    , @Sarah Toga
  50. Hank Yobo says:

    Didn’t the British confront both Napoleon and the American revolutionaries, or, at least, the latter’s immediate descendants, during the War of 1812?

  51. Sowhat says:

    Some have classified this article harshly. I enjoyed it he reading. Arnold was an interesting character. War is hell in many ways.

  52. Hank Yobo says:
    @John Gruskos

    The frontier conflict in New York was brutal and began before 1776. Ever hear of “tit for tat”? Monsters come in many shapes and forms; all not wearing red or green coats.

    • Replies: @John Gruskos
  53. Skeptikal says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    It just so happens that I just finished reading Nathaniel Philbrick’s brilliant book on Arnold, Washington, and their times, “Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution.” This essay of Fischer’s appears to be a precis of Philbrick’s book, making the same points that Philbrick makes (for example, Philbrick has a short essay on the implications of the fact that in effect all of the rebels were traitors), yet Fischer does not acknowledge Philbrick’s book and Philbrick’s research, much of it in original documentary sources.

    Philbrick provides detailed background on Arnold’s second wife, the loyalist Peggy Shippen Arnold (, her unremitting efforts to “turn” Arnold, and the pressure the latter was under to maintain Peggy in a style that she and her wealthy Loyalist father were accustomed to. Philadelphia was a loyalist stronghold—and was the northern city with the strongest commercial, financial, and social ties to the slave-holding South.

    I highly recommend Valiant Ambition to those who want to understand the world in which both Washington and Arnold were operating and be highly entertained in the process. Philbrick is a master of his field and genre. Or, start with the first two two in Philbrick’s American Revolution trilogy (so far), Mayflower, and Bunker Hill. I eagerly await the forthcoming (in October) In the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown.

    • Replies: @Sarah Toga
  54. Skeptikal says:

    Sean, you are wrong.
    So silly to be wrong for no good reason except a low opinion of women’s opinions and their success at getting theis husbands to listen to them. I guess you are a bachelor!!
    Somen have always had strong opinins and many women have been very good at bending their husbands to their opinions. Peggy was one of these. You can inform yourself by reading Philbrick’s Valiant Ambition.

  55. Skeptikal says:
    @Stolen Valor Detective

    Wow, I am stunned by the pool of ignorance that most responders tot his comment are drawing their arguments from. They don’t really know a thing about the subject and are just winging it with their personal conjectures. The Fischer article seems to be closely based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s Valiant Ambition, but he doesn’t present the whole context that Philbrick does.

    One of Philbrick’s accomplishments is to present to the reader both the Arnold who was a kind of hero and could have been a great hero—such that the reader is completely on his side and dreads have to deal with the next part of Arnold’s story —and the Arnold whose venial traits and underhanded scheming make the reader “change sides” when it comes to Arnold. And, Philbrick shows how Arnold’s shortcomings, the opportunistic element of his “patriotism,” were a microcosm of the same elements in the whole “patriot” undertaking. Per Philbrick, the revelation of Arnold’s carefully laid perfidious plan was a kind of “shock therapy” to the rest of the patriots/rebels, especially the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, as they grasped that they had to get serious about their new country or the whole things would end not only in defeat but in an ignominious defeat for a dishonorable cause.

  56. bjondo says:

    Whatever sort of traitor was BA
    he didnt stunt nor kill the future nation.

    Our current traitors, infiltrators have put
    America in chains to a cult.
    Death not far behind.

    Nice to clarify history
    we face an emergency.

  57. Skeptikal says:

    “General Lee was truly a traitor to his country yet we honor him as hero. ”
    Lee chose to side with the South, his homeland, at the *beginning* of the conflict.
    He did not swear an oath of allegiance to the Union and *then* betray the Union and break his oath.
    Big difference.

    • Replies: @Logan
  58. @MikeatMikedotMike

    The so what is to the observation that Gen Arnold is not uniquely held in disrepute — the evidence says others — that the issue and the what. In fact, referring as we do to Gen. Arnold is unique in that if someone walks up to you and says you are a William Franklin, you might squint and say “Huh, who, what?”

    But if one walks up to you calls you Benedict Arnold,, . . . . your response most likely would be one of consternation — glassy eyed stare or in your case as name calling is typical . . . something more colorful.

    Because General Arnold is not general, he is “Benedict Arnold” and there’s a reason you would have a definitive response to what is an insult. He holds a unique place holder, contrary to the suggestion I responded to. And given the context — as noted in this article and others — it’s not quite as simple as we generally accept.

    Unlike Gen. Lee who did betray his country, walked off the job, and took his training in violent rebellion. But we don’t him him a traitor and the lives cost to betrayal — hundreds of thousands — the war itself over a million.

    That’s the what . . .

  59. @MikeatMikedotMike


    “But we don’t call him a traitor and the lives cost to betrayal — hundreds of thousands — the war itself over a million.

    That’s the what . . .

    and i care because there was a time in my life when i would desire to hang anyone who betrayed his country. But then i was confronted with blacks fighting in the Philippines who concluded it made no sense to fight for a country that was denying freedom of the very fighters battling on behalf of the country.

    The moral contradictions are so deep and clear that i had to reconsider my views on what it meant to be a citizen and what it means to be loyal and to what cost of integrity that loyalty would be tested. were slaves and blacks who fought on the side of the British whose names are not synonymous with Gen. Arnold be considered traitors — not in my view. We engaged on war on a bruised ego after September 11. This business of identity and it treatment to the ones who serve this country is no small matter and it is unknown how many we have lost as spies, or something else traitorous, not for money but by some unrequited slight. In my view, Gen Arnold’s were more than a few —

    I am going to tread lightly on how that dynamic plays out —

    It is afterall ego that bids us to use Gen Arnold and Benedict as opposed to gen. His has insulted our honor.

    Careful mistaking understanding for defense .

    nod to Monarchial Spain

  60. renfro says:

    I could care less about yesterday’s traitors. I am concerned with today’s traitors.

    20 September 2018

    ”A little-known unit in the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is conducting a covert surveillance, espionage and blackmail campaign against American citizens on a large scale. Not since the arrest of Jonathan Jay Pollard and the 1992 expose of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith’s espionage against civil rights activists has the Israeli government been so actively involved in clandestine influence and espionage against American targets.

    The unit is Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, headed by director general Sima Vaknin-Gil. Vaknin-Gil reports personally to PM Netanyahu. Vaskin-Gil is a former Brigadier General in the IDF, who once was the Chief Israeli Military Censor. Her Ministry has spawned a “private” security firm, Israel Cyber Shield, headed by former Ministry official and Israeli National Police officer Eran Vasker. According to Haaretz, ICS is part of the spy network gathering dossiers on anti-Israel activists from the BDS movement in the United States.

    The existence and mission of the Ministry first came to prominence in a four-part documentary produced by Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based international news organization. In 2016, Al Jazeera successfully infiltrated the American Zionist apparatus via James Anthony Kleinfeld, a British Jew who graduated from Oxford, spoke six languages and was well-versed in Middle East affairs. Kleinfeld infiltrated The Israel Project and other pro-Israel US organizations to such an extent that the leadership welcomed him with open arms and let down their guard about their collusion with the Israeli government, in targeting pro-Palestine organizations and other Israel critics.
    Armed with a hidden video recorder, Kleinfeld obtained large amounts of material on the inner workings of TIP, AIPAC, the Israeli-American Council, the Maccabee Task Force and the Zionist Organization of America. He got “straight from the horse’s mouth” that the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies is a spy agency working as an unregistered agent of the Israeli government. One TIP official confided to Kleinfeld that they had to be very careful, because they were “a different government working on foreign soil.”
    Earlier this year, Al Jazeera was scheduled to air four 50-minute documentary segments on Kleinfeld’s findings. But, Al Jazeera was required to first inform the organizations that were to be featured in the documentary about the pending airing of the series. At that point, the full weight of the US Zionist apparatus along with the Israeli government came down on the Qatar government to press for censorship of the documentary. Suddenly, the US Zionist lobby, which had allied with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in denouncing Qatar as a terrorist state, backing Hamas and other jihadist organizations, reversed positions and gave their support to Qatar. The documentary has never aired.
    But bootleg copies of the devastating documentary are clearly circulating around. Alain Gresh wrote a lengthy summary for The Nation on August 31, based on his having viewed the entire four-part series, courtesy of a friend in the Middle East. Sooner or later, the entire series will surface, despite the Qatar censorship decision. Excerpts have already been posted on some websites.
    I like to think this is a story that is too big to bury for long. ”

  61. Anonymous[309] • Disclaimer says:
    @Stolen Valor Detective

    The title was just tongue in cheek.

  62. @Anonymous

    I had not known that, right from the time of the ratification of the Constitution by the individual states, that Virginia had clearly stated that, upon injury or oppression of their citizens by the central government thus formed, they reserved the right to again go their separate way, or at minimum to reassert their rights against the government constituted through the Constitution that they were ratifying. They could not have made this much clearer.

    I was well aware of the sense that the states were entities to which citizens of those states still retained a primary allegiance, as seen in the times prior to the War Between the States through the formulation describing the Republic as these United States as opposed to the formulation after that war as the United States. Huge distinction from one to the other.

    BTW, this accounts for the Southern name for the conflict as the War Between the States instead of as the Civil War; in a civil war, as commonly understood, two parties vie for control of the whole, whereas in the WBtS, the Southern confederation sought to withdraw from a previous compact, and not to gain power over Northern states and submit them to their – forcibly unified – rule.

  63. There is a window in St. Mary’s church in Battersea, London dedicated to Benedict Arnold, where he, his wife and (I think) a daughter lie in the crypt. The graves were disturbed and the precise resting places are unknown. The window depicts a likeness of Arnold surrounded by four flags, the Union Jack, an early continental flag with the Union Jack in the upper left, the first American flag of 13 stars and the modern American 50-star flag. The window is dedicated to Anglo-American reconciliation and friendship. St. Mary’s church is beautiful (one of my best memories of a year spend in London), although increasingly out of place among the high rises of Battersea.

    I have also read that part of the reason Benedict Arnold switched sides was that he thought the peace terms offered by the British in 1778, after the defeat at Saratoga, were on the whole reasonable and should either have been accepted or at least served as the basis for a negotiated resolution of the war.

    A principled resignation for personal and political reasons might have reduced his infamy, but offering to turn over West Point to the British was clearly an act of betrayal.

    • Replies: @Skeptikal
    , @Logan
  64. utu says:

    This show how shortsighted were French and Spaniards. Supporting masonic insurrection was not smart. The enemy of your enemy is not always your friend.

  65. Respect says:
    @Haxo Angmark

    And ” being largely financial ” is not worth of some gratefulnes ,some recognition ? , no money no bullets . Have you read all my entries ? I don`t think so .

    Plenty of spanish money and logistics in Saratoga and Yorktown . The securing of the Missisipi reargard for the yanks by Galvez was not war ? , The seizing of the british fleet loaded with weapons bound to America by Luis de Cordova was not war ?

    You can thank the french all you want , fine . But you shoud aknowledge the big spanish role in your independence . You yanks are a very ungrateful and greedy nation , no wonder you are more and more despised around the world , and even at your own country .

    And by the way you never payed the spanish loans , you can not be trusted .

  66. Anon[424] • Disclaimer says:
    @John Gruskos

    Yea , Gruskos , horrible mosters , worse than the monsters that threw atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki .

  67. Skeptikal says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    “I have also read that part of the reason Benedict Arnold switched sides”

    According to Philbrick, Arnold switched sides basically for monetary gain.
    He had made a deal with the British that he would be handsomely rewarded if he engineered the defeat of West Point and handed this pivotal fort/American defense point over to the British.
    It really doesn’t get much worse than that.
    Arnold was able to make an escape literally out the backdoor because of a timing glitch resulting from the relatively inefficient communications of that day.
    His associate in the plot, John Andre, was caught and hanged as a traitor.
    The same would have befallen Arnold.
    Peggy Arnold managed to save herself by faking a hysterical fit and playing the part of a woman who has completely lost her mind—something she was very practiced at doing. She could mount an accomplished performance, replete with torn, inappropriate garments that scarcely hid “anything” and crazy babbling about how her children had been murdered by General Washington and other such raving. Honorable men looked away, threw a cloak about her to shield her vulnerable state, and let her pass. In other words, she excelled at taking advantage of concepts of honor shown a woman to get away with . . . a lot. Including saving her own traitorous skin.

    • Replies: @Hank Yobo
    , @Logan
  68. Hank Yobo says:

    Perhaps Philbrick is just one more New England historian preaching to the choir. There have been a lot of them since the mid-nineteenth century.

  69. Skeptikal says:

    What “choir” would that be?

    • Replies: @Hank Yobo
  70. Logan says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Had they been caught. French territory wasn’t that far away, and Washington was a woodland surveyor.

    In the aftermath of the French and Indian War the nearest French territory was in the Caribbean. England controlled Canada, Florida and everything to the Mississippi. Spain had the land on the other side of the great river.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  71. @EliteCommInc.

    The traitor was A. Lincoln, and those who collaborated him, violating the Constitutional rights of the
    states and invading some of them, This included, by the way, not only states seceding by formal
    actions, but non-seceding Maryland and Kentucky, which found themselves quickly under military
    occupation. Honorable and honest men like Lee were driven to support their states (their ‘countries’
    in American usage) by the treachery and tyranny of Lincoln and the government subservient to him.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
    , @Hibernian
  72. Logan says:

    I read a novel about 50 years ago that made about these same points. Oliver Wiswell by Kenneth Roberts. Still remember significant segments of it, which indicates something of the impact it made on me.

    Some of the main takeaways.

    Our Revolution was in many ways also our first civil war.

    The Patriots often treated Loyalist neighbors, who simply wanted to keep their allegiance as it had been the year before, abominably.

    Many Loyalists fought heroically for their King, an entirely honorable thing to do.

    Which doesn’t make Arnold’s betrayal any less egregious. Even the British despised him for it.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  73. Logan says:

    His associate in the plot, John Andre, was caught and hanged as a traitor.

    Andre was not a traitor. He was a British officer, so couldn’t be a traitor to a cause to which he owed no allegiance. He was hanged as a spy. Even the Americans who hanged him admired him. If I remember correctly Washington offered to trade Andre for Arnold, only hanging him when the trade was refused.

  74. Skeptikal says:

    You are right. He was hanged as a spy.
    Yes, everyone admired him because he was very charming and talented.
    But his personality had a dark side, or perhaps it was par for the course in privileged young men of the age. He had been involved in exaggerated cruelty toward captured soldiers.
    His wealth came from sugar plantations worked by slaves on the island of Grenada.
    A charming but callow and ultimately shallow young man who got himself captured through lack of caution.

    • Replies: @republic
    , @republic
  75. Hank Yobo says:

    You’ve probably heard, or, perhaps even sung, a few stanzas in your lifetime. America is the exceptional “light on a hill.” The republic’s founding fathers were heroic, intellectual wonder-workers, especially GW who remains more popular–and unassailable–than the carpenter from Nazareth. Destiny, whether divine or not, ensured that America would dominate the New World and then the entire planet since the nation’s institutions were the best ever devised by Mankind/Womankind/Humankind. It goes downhill from there. Read any standard history textbook for more particulars.

    • Replies: @Skeptikal
    , @EliteCommInc.
  76. Hank Yobo says:
    @John Gruskos

    Thanks for the link to a primary source. First, as you are probably aware, Pitt was notorious for interfering with military operations in North America during the Seven Years’ War. A predilection he apparently was not able to shake even in old age, judging by this speech. Second, I don’t recall Pitt’s aversion to the use of Native allies during his term of office. In fact, if you check his published correspondence, you may find that he specifically supported the use such auxiliaries against the French during the 1750s and 1760s. Clearly, he did not practice in his youth what he preached in his dotage. His last word was apparently not his only word about the conduct of war in the New World.

  77. Skeptikal says:
    @Hank Yobo

    Why would you assume that I haven’t read any standard history textbook??
    And/but, why read “any” standard history textbook? Not sure what your point is.
    My suggestion to you:
    For the “real” story of America’s underlying values, including those of most of the Founders and Framers, read David Ray Griffin’s The American Trajectory: Divine or Demonic?

    • Replies: @Hank Yobo
  78. Dan Hayes says:


    At one time I had avidly read most if not all of Kenneth Robert’s historical novels. As with you they left a still remembered lasting impression. Benedict Arnold is a key character in Robert’s Arundel and Rabble in Arms.

    I believe that Robert’s got involved in promoting immigration restriction. For this he got into hot water. So what else in new!

    A thought. I’ll have to check if Good Maven Ron, our patron, has republished any of his works.

    • Replies: @Logan
  79. Hank Yobo says:

    I mentioned “any standard history textbook” because it will still contain the Grand Narrative about American exceptionalism. This remains a Hydra that revisionists have been unable to slay and remains a fundamental premise upon which many popular or academic histories are written. I never suggested that you are unfamiliar with such secondary works. Griffin’s Wikipedia entry, by the way, describes him as a theologian, not someone with degrees or extensive experience in historical research.

    • Replies: @Alden
  80. Skeptikal says:

    Re Theologian:
    Same is true of Chris Hedges.
    Does that mean you don’t accept his journalistic work?
    Kinda surprised that you apparently disparage Griffin on the basis of his degree in theology, not of his writings on the subject at hand. (Which in this case, as you point out, is American exceptionalism.)
    And, that you apparently have not heard of Griffin and had to look him up in Wiki. Or perhaps you have heard of Griffin but wanted to disparage my recommendation with an ad hominem comment that disparages Griffin plus me for, presumably, beign too dumb to know that Griffin has a degree in theology and therefore, presumably, in not qualified to research and write on any other subject.
    Interesting notion.

    It may be precisely Griffin’s being a theologian that has led him to make it a priority to delve deeply into the Grand Narratives that have been used to justify deeply immoral policies and strategies of American patriots and the U.S. govt. from the very beginnings.

    Again: The American Trajectory is highly recommended as a well-researched and documented (mostly from secondary sources) precis of the evolving language and pretexts used to express and justify American exceptionalism from the very beginning.

    Griffin has also brought questioning the Official Conspiracy Theory of 9/11 into the mainstream (although he has so far avoided any mention of Israel/Mossad, for which he has been called out by many).

    • Replies: @Hank Yobo
  81. 22pp22 says:

    Why do Americans have such a high opinion of Washington? If it hadn’t been for him you might have attained the cultural level of the Canadians.

    Too late, Benedict Arnold saw the error of his ways.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  82. republic says:

    If the British had not hanged Nathan Hale as a spy, Andre probably would not have been executed.

  83. republic says:

    The charge that Andre was involved in torture seems unlikely, Washington had a known policy
    Of not using torture on prisoners of war, Washington’s opinion of Andre would have been
    Much different if this was common knowledge at the time.

    “Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” – George Washington, charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775

  84. Skeptikal says:

    Maybe, but why shouldn’t the British have hanged Nathan Hale as a spy?
    And why shouldn’t Andre have been executed?
    Washington was personally fond of both Andre and Arnold was of course very supportive of Arnold, despite the latter’s volatility, giving him the important strategic command of West Point constantly expressing the great confidence he had in him to both Arnold himself and others, specifically, the members of the Continental Congress.

    After his capture, Andre appealed to Washington personally to execute him *as an officer,* by firing squad.

    But Andre had not be captured in a battle situation as a British officer. He had been captured as a spy.
    Washington decided he had to make a clear example of Andre—no quarter for spies.
    If Andre had been captured as a British officer he would not have been executed at all—much less hanged.

    It is possible that Washington might have shown leniency toward Andre if he hadn’t been part of the plot with Arnold—Arnold’s perfidy was also a huge personal affront to and betrayal of Washington.

    All of this is per Philbrick. I haven’t read other sources on either Arnold or Andre (other than Wiki entries), but I think that Philbrick covers the story in an evenhanded fashion.

  85. Hank Yobo says:

    I haven’t disparaged you or the author of the book you mentioned. I merely pointed out that his training is in an academic discipline other than history. It takes years of study to acquire familiarity with germane primary sources. Hence my reference to educational credentials or lack thereof. Have a lovely weekend.

  86. Skeptikal says:

    I wonder what Andrew Fischer’s credentials are.
    Years of study to acquare familiarity with germane primary sources”?
    Ya think? Not me.
    I see no sign of original research in archival sources here.
    S o o o o o
    This credential nonsense is a distraction. From what is not clear.
    It looks like Hank Yobo just wants to play gotcha and be right about something.
    What a waste of (his) time.
    Griffin provides a thorough overview and discussion of the deep roots and of American exceptionalism and how this conviction has played out throughout the history of the United States. A very useful book. NB, Hank: Many historians rely primarily on secondary sources, citing primary sources as quoted in the secondary sources. I wonder whether you knew that.

    • Replies: @Hank Yobo
  87. Hank Yobo says:

    “Many historians rely primarily on secondary sources, citing primary sources as quoted in the secondary sources. I wonder whether you knew that.”

    Not many good or academically-trained scholars/historians would do so. Their manuscripts would not pass their dissertation advisor’s scrutiny. If it did, it would not get the approval of their committee. Therefore, no career since an academic press would not publish their work. Peer review. Give it a try.

    • Replies: @Skeptikal
  88. There was nothing noble about the Revolutionary war because it consisted of one group of British, massacring another over taxes. Sure, there was the constitution and it was all about free speech and the separation of church and state etc. Fifty years after the Revolutionary war, Britain was every bit as free as the US was. The US is a bit more free than Britain is today, but they are both plagued by the same problems. The question to ask is, was the Revolutionary war worth it? Had the US never fought this war, the US and Canada would probably be one country with a parliamentary system of government. Until the 1960’s, Canada was every bit as free as the United States.

  89. Skeptikal says:
    @Hank Yobo

    This is so beside the point.
    We are not talking about a dissertation in connection with David Ray Griffin’s book, which I mentioned in connection with the topic of American exceptionalism.

    Nor in the Fischer article under discussion.
    Why are you arguing interminably just because I mentioned a book by the very well known author and public intellectual David Ray Griffin? Griffin has published books on a number of subjects with a number of university presses, has been a fellow at Cambridge University, etc.
    What is your problem? What are you trying to prove?
    You are a mite trying to bite an elephant.

  90. @Uncle Remus

    Hmmmmm . . .

    excuse the late response. I just saw this response, wholly unintentional.

    Had the south sued for succession instead of engaging in a war – which they started by firing on Fort Sumter, I might agree. But the attack against a federal institution, approved by the state legislature in which it was located amounts to a contract and that attack – was an attack against the nation.

    I have to reject any attempt to advance any southerner who fought on the side of the confederates as anything but a traitor. Pres Lincoln, responded as one should have expected – war. It was not a war to free slaves – though the issue of slavery was key in the contention over states rights. It was a war to keep the union as union. I think the question of state succession may have some legs. but by engaging in an act of war, the south cut the argument short.

    Laughing. I am going to beg off a discussion about treachery. The hypocrisy of slavery to the nation’s founding — is the treachery that has us all in its snare. And we have yet to wrestle the matter out .

    To this day, I find the southern response to the election of Pres Lincoln, hard to grasp. He had no intention of doing anything that might cause disunion — including and especially moving to free blacks from slavery.

    • Replies: @Uncle Remus
  91. @Joseph Watson

    I agree,

    the revolutionary war was needless.

  92. @22pp22


    if you happen to be in the seat when the game is up and the is won, it is not uncommon for that person to receive the credit. And given that the inexplicable happened (maybe unexpected is a better phrase), General Washington will have the writers of history to his stead.

    Trying to bring healthy realism to any of the founders is a very tough slog and taking on Pres./General Washington — cherry tree myths is a hurdle of hurdles. No one wants to hear that Gen. Washington was lucky, and a well connected bounder.

    Laughing probably three hurdles higher than putting a comprehensible face on Gen. Arnold.

    The real test is always — what do those in the majority do in response to theose in the minority. An unpaid workforce, in light of what he supposedly fought for — tells me all I need to know about his sincerity, honesty and honor.

    • Replies: @Logan
    , @Alden
  93. @Hank Yobo

    I happen to think the US is exceptional. But we are exceptional for some reasons that have nothing to do with being exceptional as people.

    Location, resources vast waterways, minerals etc., weather, few invasions of note, topography . . .

    However, what has empowered our dominance has a lot to with the dysfunctions that have plagued other parts of the world draining them of their vitality. Our character is shaped by the colonists ambitions and fortutous spirit of risk taking. And time after time, those risks paid off, when they shouldn’t have. Part of the understanding of why that is the case is based on two primary beliefs

    1. an all gracious providence — God and
    2. Jesus Christ and no one – no one surpasses Christ with respect to character and impact on the development of the US.

    And even without the above review provided by the above accounting from youtube. There was plenty of evidence that George Washington was as elitist as his peers whose primary interest was self interest. And while Jesus need no defense from me — As for the power before, during and life –

    The Nazarene has no equal.

    • Replies: @Hank Yobo
  94. Hank Yobo says:

    I think that you are echoing Paul Kennedy and I agree with much of his assessment about geography, climate, and natural resources. However, I still have the impression that GW remains more popular than JC in public consciousness. Very few have written anything critical about the former because he was the preeminent founding father. The latter, however, has legions of critics.

    • Replies: @EliteComminc.
  95. @Joseph Watson

    Perhaps cooler heads in Westminster and Whitehall could have headed off the War Between the States and spared North America 620,000 dead between 1861 and 1865.

  96. @Skeptikal

    On the Pilgrims and Plymouth Plantation, let me recommend Nick Bunker’s Making Haste From Babylon.
    Bunker draws on recently uncovered original sources from England and Europe in addition to the existing known sources.

  97. @Joseph Watson

    The globalist rabid zeal to mass import moslems and other nation-wrecking dysfunctional people groups will destroy both nations if continued.

  98. @jacques sheete

    Major historical figures are almost always complex and contradictory. Hagiography has its place but serious history writing shows people with warts and all.

    The cable series Turn did a surprisingly good job showing complexities of Americans and Brits in the War for Independence. Including a thorough treatment of Gen. Arnold, the various factors that set him on his course and his wife Peggy. With British spymaster John Andre for the love triangle. People were earthy back then.

  99. @Hank Yobo

    More popularity is quite a different matter than character.

    Here’s my response:

    note the category in which Gen Arnold is listed

    Clearly the matter depends on criteria, but there are enough polls that place other citizens ahead of Pres Washington. But I would bet even money that Jesus ranks above any US citizen when it comes to character. On fact, as is clear by the number of colonials that followed him — Jesus sets the standard for sound character.

    • Replies: @Logan
  100. @EliteCommInc.

    Eliite, it looks like the whole business is too hard for you to grasp. Either in the swamp you crawled out from there is no knowledge of American history or you are an AI propaganda machine for Big Brother. Disunion was caused by Lincoln’s election as a sectional candidate, and the realistic understanding of what he would do in office (the secession of South Carolina within a month of the
    election) and his inaugural threat to collect the tariffs notwithstanding the withdrawal of several seaside states with their ports. It is time to throw the “eternity of the Union” argument into the
    dustbin of history.

  101. @Uncle Remus

    How about history as recorded.

    President Lincoln had no intention, not one of doing anything that would cause the union to sever., including introducing any legislation to diminish slavery or set slaves free. And he made that every clear. Slavery was the law of the land —— and he intended to live it, even if he opposed it.

    The South panicked. Nevermind your counter intuitive visions of reading his mind. Ohh good grief, given your response, if the south is a reflection of you, it is clear why they needlessly began a conflict over imagined fears. Furthermore, you obviously did not read what I wrote. Because of you had, you would know my views concerning the union and states rights, or at least my view on whether said membership in the union is voluntary.

    You might want to read the emancipation proclamation if you want Pres. Lincoln’s view of union verses slavery.

    • Replies: @Uncle Remus
  102. @Uncle Remus

    Laughing. The south did not secede over tariffs and even the issues regarding financial disputes centered around slavery. Plenty of tangential issues — but slavery was center stage.

    states rights, sure what states get to do about and with their property, how to tax. when to tax, which property to tax —— primary property in question — black slaves.

    I will tell you what is old hat and should cease being advertised — states rights as cause for war — it has effectively clouded reality for more than 240 years.

  103. @Uncle Remus

    “Confederate States of America – Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union”

    “In the present case, that fact is established with certainty. We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.

    The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.” et al

    Ohhh you mean slavery.


  104. The for secession was slavery.

    The reason for the war was the result of the attack on fort Sumter and the demand to keep the union — unified — it was not to free slaves, that was a side effect, fortunately.

    • Replies: @Uncle Remus
  105. Correction:

    the reason for secession was slavery and the fear that Pres Lincoln would somehow magically end it if he could — he couldn’t and wouldn’t have. The myth that Pres Lincoln launched a war to free slaves is just that a myth. He fought the war to maintain the union. Freeing slaves was a by product — as the war had already made it impossible to hold most slaves, anyway.

    Few like to speak in frank terms about that reality — but Pres Lincoln used the same excuse every president who opposed slavery used – it’s the law.

    The states rights contention centered on slavery and its related dynamic. Pres Jackson an avid advocate for slaves held the same view that the union was sacrosanct. Abolitionists might have gone to war over slavery — President Lincoln was not an abolitionist.

    • Replies: @Uncle Remus
  106. Note: The states rights contention centered on slavery and its related dynamic. Pres Jackson an avid advocate for slaves held the same view that the union was sacrosanct.

    when I say advocate for slaves — i mean slave owning and slave owners.

  107. Che Guava says:

    To compare the article to the deadly dull Onion is really unfair.

    I found it educational.

    Reading Fenimore Cooper’s maritime tales recently, it is clear that there were wild swings and divisions between sympathy for France and England, in Yanquiland, and many yanqui were practically loyalist in mentality long after the war of independence, or whatever you want to call it.

    Perhaps the war of 1812 changed that, I don’t know.

    The French who swayed the balance at the time were not revolutionary France (as many accounts deceitfully imply) nor Napeolonic, but royalists just in it as a game against the British.

  108. Hibernian says:

    You’re leaving out St. Pierre and Miquelon. Anyway, Spanish territory (including St. Louis and New Orleans) was not far away.

  109. Hibernian says:
    @Uncle Remus

    Kentucky was neutral until the Confederacy invaded it. You’re right about Maryland. Missouri had its own Civil War within the state. Delaware was never in play. West Virginia was formed by Unionist counties which “seceded from the secession.”

  110. @Hibernian

    Great turn of phrase with that last line.

    One of the underlying issues to confederate failure was the disunion of the among the southern states as bemoaned by Pres Jefferson Davis.

  111. @Hibernian

    The neutrality policy adopted by the Kentucky legislature was a smokescreen put forward by Lincoln Unionists (James Speed, etc.) to diminish the enthusiasm of the Southern Rights Democrats and
    outright secessionists in the state. It gave the Lincoln sympathizers and Union forces the time to
    establish an enlistment center in the Blue Grass region at Camp Dick Robinson and to move weapons into the state. Large numbers of Kentuckians were already crossing state lines to enlist in Union and Confederate forces. When Polk violated the policy by moving Confederate troops into the Jackson
    Purchase region of Western Kentucky Grant countered by taking Paducah and the neutrality position
    lay in ruins. The Federal military authorities began to establish control in that state, closing secessionist newspapers, arresting suspected Southern sympathizers and moving troops into the state.
    Former Vice President and U.S. Senator John Cabell Breckinridge reluctantly abandoned the state
    for Richmond and the Confederate Army rather than be arrested. There are numerous good studies
    of recent vintage for information. MIchael D. Robinson, Christopher Phillips and Aaron Astor are among the authors.

  112. @EliteCommInc.

    Elite, what are you smoking? Nothing I have said purports to reading Lincoln’s mind.

  113. @EliteCommInc.

    Is the sanctity of the Union any more than an article of faith with you? And is it an immutable principle for the American people only, or are Catalonians, Scots, Lombards and others bound to
    the sanctity of their political unions also?

  114. Logan says:
    @Dan Hayes

    1090 books by “Kenneth Roberts” for sale.

    Not all of them the specific KR we’re discussing.

    I find it fascinating that I could recite whole plot lines from his books 40 or 50 years later, but other books I read a year ago I’ve completely forgotten.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  115. Logan says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    Had the Brits offered the 1778 peace terms in 1776, the war would probably have ended, and North America would have become a really, really big Canada.

    But they didn’t, and for obvious reasons by 1778 those terms were no longer acceptable.

  116. Logan says:
    @Uncle Remus

    I’ve often read claims that abolitionists would have had no constitutional right to attack slavery within a state. But there is one thing they could have done, by statute alone.

    They could have constitutionally prohibited interstate trade in slaves. Would not have necessarily ended slavery, but would have put a major crimp in the institution.

    • Replies: @Uncle Remus
  117. Logan says:
    @John Gruskos

    How’s about taking sides with the monsters who did this?

    96 civilians killed vs. 30 at Cherry Valley.

  118. @Logan

    Presumably you are thinking of Federal legislation to prohibit interstate trade in slaves between, for
    instance, Tennessee and Mississippi. At no point up to, and beyond, the eruption of the “unpleasantness” in 1861 could such legislation have passed Congressional votes. This might have
    been a policy in the dreams of a cabal of Boston abolitionists but not a realistic one, and an effort in
    that direction would only have encouraged secessionists in their fears.

    • Replies: @Logan
  119. @EliteCommInc.

    Yes indeed, the “demand” by the new president, to maintain the Union led to his promise to collect the revenue (i.e., the tariffs), his shrewd and devious maneuvering of the South Carolinians to fire
    on Sumter (analyzed in detail in recent scholarship) and his call for troops in the aftermath, the latter
    unconstitutionally and without consulting the Congress.

  120. Logan says:

    An unpaid workforce, in light of what he supposedly fought for — tells me all I need to know about his sincerity, honesty and honor.

    While he seldom if ever talked about it, George spent the last years of his life primarily trying to free himself sufficiently from debt to be able to free his slaves and provide them with a start in free life.

    AFAIK, no other of the major Founders did this.

    The real test is always — what do those in the majority do in response to theose in the minority

    An entirely reasonable test. However, it should read “those in power,” as this group is not always, and historically has seldom been, in the majority. Most dominant elites have been rather small minorities.

  121. Logan says:


    Monty Python, after the success of MP and the Holy Grail, discussed doing a satire on the life of Jesus.

    So they kicked it around and couldn’t really come up with much to make fun of. Which considering who they were is saying a lot.

    So they made Life of Bryan, who was not JC though often mistaken for him.

  122. Logan says:

    He did not swear an oath of allegiance to the Union and *then* betray the Union and break his oath.

    Well, technically, when he obtained a commission as an officer in the US Army he swore an oath of allegiance to the Union.

    When VA seceded, after considerable turmoil he resigned his commission and went into private life.

    He later accepted commisions first from the state of VA and then from the CSA. While I think he made the wrong choice, unlike his fellow Virginians Scott and Thomas, I believe he was caught in a conflict of loyalties and his choice was honorable.

    He did not accept a position of trust for the Union and then plot to secretly betray that trust for financial gain.

  123. Dan Hayes says:


    Unlike you, I can’t recite whole plot lines but Kenneth Roberts’ books did leave a listing impression lo these many years.

  124. Logan says:
    @Uncle Remus

    True enough.

    My point was that I have seen many claims that a Congress and President, even one firmly under control of an abolitionist majority, could not have constitutionally done anything to attack slavery very effectively.

    I think this is untrue, as prohitibiting interstate commerce in slaves is clearly within the power of Congress and would have been devastating to the institution.

    You are no doubt right that there was no chance of such a law being passed, but that wasn’t my point.

    • Replies: @Alden
  125. Alden says:

    Not a word about his wife Peggy Shipton a staunch Tory loyalist and very effective British spy and agent for which I admire her.

    One way of looking at the revolution is that is was just a massive property grab of Tory loyalist property after the revolution

    It was a lot like the French Revolution Toried and neutrals were driven out of town and their property mostly real property was sold at a cheap price to the successful revolutionaries.

    Who was driven out of town as a Tory didn’t depend on how much help the Tory had given the British. It depended on how much real property was owned. A carpenter who rented his home and shop would be left alone. But if he owned the home shop and maybe a farm and other real estate he would be run out of town.

    It would have been difficult for the more than 50% who were neutral. One week the revolutionaries occupied the town. Next week the British. And who knew who would win.

    One elite defeats another elite. Upper middle pushes out the upper class.

  126. Alden says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    They would have to sail to a French carribean island. Canada and Louisiana territory were divided between England and Spain at the end of the 7 years war with the 1763 treaties

  127. Alden says:

    England abolished slavery with a law passed in parliament and the House of Lords. Majority vote simple

    Of course Britain wasn’t full of slave owners in the 1830s.

    • Replies: @Logan
  128. Alden says:

    The slaves were paid in food, clothing housing medical care such as it was in those days, the option to hunt and grow their own food and improve their housing.

    That’s all most small business people and employees earn, just the necessities plus the car that gets you to work and back.

    And the slaves were never laid off and were never homeless.

  129. Alden says:
    @Uncle Remus

    How did Benedict Arnold article turn into a civil war discussion?

  130. Alden says:

    Mrs Arnold didn’t just have pro British opinions. She was a British spy and agent and very successful in turning an American general to the British side.

  131. Alden says:
    @Dan Hayes

    She committed no perfidy. She was a loyalist who worked for her country Britain through out the war.

    • Disagree: Dan Hayes
  132. Alden says:
    @Stolen Valor Detective

    The Arnold’s moved to England . Arnold was pretty unhappy in England. He did get a pension but got little of the recognition he felt he deserved.

    Ever since I found out that the founding fathers borrowed 13 billion from France and then demanded the frontiersmen pay for it with a whiskey tax in 7 th grade I haven’t admired them too much.

    Washington led more troops against the frontiersmen than he ever led against English troops.

    Get you a copper kettle
    Get you a copper coil
    Get you some new made corn mash
    And never more will you toil
    My pappy made whiskey
    Grandpappy did too
    We ain’t paid no whiskey tax
    Since 1792

  133. Alden says:
    @Hank Yobo

    Most American history books used in schools today are just standard Jewish liberal propaganda that America is an evil White supremacist nation that should just kill all the Whites.

    If you have kids check out their history books.

  134. Logan says:

    Also, Britain had no written Constitution prohibiting the government from doing anything it wished. Under the UK system, Parliament is supreme.

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