To Americans today, Benedict Arnold is synonymous with treason. A successful General in the War for Independence decides to sell himself out to the British, and hand over West Point in the process. One thing that I love about history is how it demonstrates the importance of personal character. Arnold’s case is a prime example of how character will eventually define a person for who they really are. Yes, Arnold was a successful leader in the Revolution, but he became dissatisfied with the level of recognition which he received. He felt he deserved more in return for his investment and in reaction to his emotions, he attempted to sell out the cause for which he claimed he stood.
Ultimately, he was unsuccessful and he retired to a life of debt, anguish and regret in England. One can only wonder what we would say about him today if he had remained faithful to his first cause rather than seek rewards for himself. The victory was won by America only a little over a year after he switched sides. His name could be on the level of Washington, Adams, Greene, or John Paul Jones. Character does matter in the end and history proves so repeatedly.