Lecture 14 - Heroes and Villains
recorded by: Yale University
published: Feb. 14, 2013, recorded: January 2010, views: 2144
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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In this lecture, Professor Freeman discusses Benedict Arnold as a case study of the ways in which ideas about regionalism, social rank, and gender--and the realities of the Continental Congress and the Continental Army--played out in this period. Like many Americans during this period, Benedict Arnold thought that he could improve his social rank and reputation in the military, but he was unable to advance due to the Continental Congress's policy on military promotions. Frustrated and facing mounting personal debts, he decided to aid the British in exchange for a reward. Arnold and his wife Peggy developed a plan for Arnold to smuggle American military plans to the British with the help of a young British soldier named John André. However, André was captured while smuggling Arnold's papers and the plot quickly unraveled. In the end, Arnold fled; his wife played upon conventional stereotypes of women to avoid punishment; and André was executed but idealized in the process.
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