Benedict Arnold, Traitor

Contributor: Suzanne Riordan. Lesson ID: 13910

Who is the most famous traitor in American history? Find out as you compare two pieces of writing on this topic!


Comprehension, United States

English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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In Saratoga National Historic Park in Stillwater, New York, there is a monument to a brave soldier who led his men to victory in battle.

Boot Monument

Although the soldier is well-known, those who erected the monument decided not to have his name placed on it.

The National Park Service website describes the Boot Monument this way:

A boot and a two-star epaulet are draped over a howitzer barrel to symbolize an individual with the rank of Major General who suffered a wound during a battle in this location. A Laurel leaf wreath sits atop the howitzer, an emblem that often resonates with victory, power, and glory.

The reverse of the monument is inscribed with the following quote:

“ 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, and for himself the rank of Major General.”

  • Who is this mysterious man who made people want to honor him for his heroic deeds, yet forever forget his name?

In this lesson, you will learn about Benedict Arnold by watching a video and by reading parts of a biography and a passage from a history book.

Benedict Arnold, 1776

Image by Anne S.K. Brown of a painting by Thomas Hart, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the public domain.

When reading about historical events and people, it is important to read several sources and compare the facts and opinions they present.

While you're watching the video and reading the texts, think about how they're similar and how they're different.

Let's start learning about Benedict Arnold's life. Take notes about what you think is important as you watch History Brief: The Treason of Benedict Arnold from Reading Through History:

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  • Did the video present Benedict Arnold as a hero, a traitor, or both?
  • Did the narrator back up his opinions with facts?

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Next, read a passage from the biography Traitor: The Case of Benedict Arnold, by Jean Fritz, courtesy of Google Books.

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  • Are you ready to learn more about Arnold and see how a history book presents him?

Move on to the Got It? section now.

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