An Interview With Benedict Arnold - Hero Or Traitor Of The American Revolution?

by  The Sheffield Museum of Rural Life (Canada)

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As a merchant opposing the Stamp Act, a leader of the Sons Of Liberty, a 5th generation American, and a brilliant field commander and strategist who fought on both sides, Benedict Arnold understood the American Revolution like nobody else.

He knew that this conflict was not a black-and-white issue for most colonial Americans. While often portrayed as a war between Britain and the 13 Colonies, in reality there were a variety of attitudes among Americans toward resolving grievances with Britain. It was these differing beliefs that turned the rebellion into an intense civil war that spread throughout the colonies, dividing neighbours and families, and eventually leading to Benedict Arnold's "betrayal".

The rise of the United States of America as a nation is often seen as the forgone conclusion of the American Revolution, but most Americans of that time had little certainty about where events would take them. Benedict Arnold was just one of many who opposed the injustices of colonial government, but later became disenchanted with the direction the revolution was taking.

He was not alone. By switching sides, Benedict Arnold joined the large ranks of the Loyalists, Americans who had remained loyal to their king or had returned to being loyal. Loyalists are estimated to have been between 20-33% of the population.

By talking with Benedict Arnold, your students will broaden their perspective on the American Revolution, and gain a deeper understanding of the motivations, beliefs, and experiences of the participants.

Naturally, the interview will be based around the questions you choose to ask.
Your students may use their interview with Benedict Arnold in different ways, depending on your preferences:
-They may hold him accountable for his actions and put him on trial for treason.
-They may interview him for the purpose of gathering information to be used later in a class debate or trial over his actions.
-They may interview him for the purpose of learning more about the American Revolution from the perspective of a key player.
-The above approaches can be combined.

Benedict Arnold is prepared to discuss (but is not limited to) the following topics:
-His childhood and education
-His experiences in the French and Indian War
-His career as a merchant and sea captain
-His role as a leader of the Sons of Liberty
-His numerous victories in battle against the British
-How the American Revolution went wrong
-Switching sides
-The Peace Treaty
-His life after the war
-The U.S.A. after the war

Benedict Arnold will also have various artifacts on hand, including a British musket, a flintlock pistol, and colonial coins and paper money.

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About This Program


By Request: $150.00
By Request Premium: $125.00


60 minutes

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Adult Learners, Homeschool/Family Public Library: Library Patrons

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:

There is no maximum, but for optimum interactivity, we suggest no more than 40 students.

Primary Disciplines

Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)

Booking Information

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Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

We are willing to make every effort possible to re-schedule when necessary, but sessions canceled with less than 24 hours notice will be billed in full, unless there are severe circumstances, such as illness, weather, and school closure.

About This Provider

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The Sheffield Museum of Rural Life (Canada)

Sheffield, Ontario

The Sheffield Museum of Rural Life preserves, studies, and teaches broad elements of rural heritage, with a specific focus on the history of the village of Sheffield, Ontario, and a wider focus on the medieval European background of North American rural culture.

Marty Pullin

Program Details


1. The presentation begins with Benedict Arnold introducing himself to the students.
2. Students and teachers are invited to interview Benedict Arnold, asking any questions they wish. Benedict will respond to questions, and likely ask the students a few questions of his own.


-interview a character from the past
-investigate the motives of a key player of the American Revolution
-participate in a discussion about loyalty and treason
-observe weapons technology used during the American Revolution
-develop a deeper understanding of the American Revolution

Standards Alignment

National Standards


-Understands the causes of the American Revolution, the ideas and interests involved in forging the revolutionary movement, and the reasons for the American victory
-Understands the impact of the American Revolution on politics, economy, and society
-Understands the institutions and practices of government created during the Revolution and how they were revised between 1787 and 1815 to create the foundation of the American political system based on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights