There may be no two contemporaries in American military history who are remembered more differently than George Washington and Benedict Arnold. Historian Nathaniel Philbrick joins us to talk about how the relationship between these two changed during the war, which he writes about in “Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution” (Penguin).
Nathaniel Philbrick on …
… the role Benedict Arnold played in America’s origin story:
“We had George Washington as this great hero, but if you’re going to create a myth of origins you also need a villain, and enter Benedict Arnold. By attempting to surrender West Point to the Brittish, he was a traitor not only to George Washington and the Continental Congress but to every American. Suddenly, we had the hero and we had the villain. We had the snake in the Garden of Eden. And so the genesis of the country could move beyond an act of betrayal when it came to King George and look to the defense of our own personal freedoms.”