The revolutionary war spy as hero and the revolutionary war hero as traitor
Danieli, Raymond Francis.
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. The words "hero" and "traitor" are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The word "hero" can be defined in an abstract or in a tangible way. Today, the word is frequently overused to describe an action or actions of a person or persons. During the American Revolutionary War the word "hero" was clearly given to someone who performed an act or acts during combat that was clearly above the normal or ordinary. Both Nathan Hale and Benedict Arnold were American Revolutionary War heroes. This thesis examines the lives of the two Americans, and their attainment of "hero" status. The problem is why does one man, Nathan Hale remain a hero today, in fact is the official hero of the state of Connecticut, while today the other man's name is synonymous with the word traitor? Both were Americans, born in Connecticut raised in strong maternal Christian homes, and both grew up twenty-three miles apart. My research centered on using secondary sources, including books and periodicals. I used empirical methods to chronologically follow the lives of the two main characters. By following this process, I attempted to demonstrate how and why one man followed the road to lasting fame, and the other the road to infamy. I present information that showed that Nathan Hale, because of his strong Christian faith and willingness to sacrifice himself became the person he was, while Arnold, sold his American birthright to the British, and promptly became one of America's greatest traitors. The actions of Benedict Arnold in either the uniform of a Colonial soldier or in the uniform of a Redcoat could have affected the outcome of the Revolutionary War. As a soldier for the Continental Army, he fought heroically, especially at the Battle of Saratoga. If Arnold had not engaged the British at Saratoga, the conclusion of the Revolutionary War might have well been different. As a traitor to the American cause, if Arnold had succeeded in turning over West Point to the British, this action might have turned the tide of the war in favor of the British. Arnold was a major player in the Revolutionary War, albeit a tragic player Nathan Hale's life, though short in time, speaks well for him. Hale was the quintessential American patriot, hero and martyr. Hale's life and his walk to the gallows seemed almost predestined. Born and raised as the favorite son of a strong Christian man and farmer, Hale did all the right things, from graduating from Yale University to teaching school in Connecticut. Among the first in his town to enlist, Hale was a favorite officer among his men, because he sincerely cared for his subordinates. Hale freely went on a spy mission behind enemy lines, which may have been unnecessary and possibly unfair to send such an inexperienced soldier to enter a clandestine world. Yet today, over two hundred twenty-five years after his death, the name Nathan Hale is remembered as a courageous hero who sacrificed his life for the new nation, soon to become the United States of America.
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