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Benedict Arnold’s Treason

55 min

Guiding Questions

  • How did Benedict Arnold fail to show integrity through his actions?
  • What impact did Benedict Arnold’s lack of integrity have on the Revolutionary War?


  • Students will understand what integrity means.
  • Students will explain the impacts that a lack of integrity have on a self-governing society.

  • Traversing
  • Grievous
  • Redress
  • Grievances
  • Pension
  • Tactless
  • Grudgingly
  • Petty
  • Delusional


Martin, James Kirby. Benedict Arnold, Revolutionary Hero. New York: New York University Press, 2000.

Martin, James Kirby. “Benedict Arnold’s Treason as Political Protest.” Parameters, 11:63-74.

Wallace, Willard M. “Benedict Arnold: Traitorous Patriot,” in George Athan Billias, ed., George Washington’s Generals. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1964. 163-92.

Depending on class size and the number of additional cards you made, split students up into either small groups or as individuals. Distribute the “Infamous Examples” name-cards that you put together prior to class. Students should engage with each other in “dinner party” style to learn about each other and take notes while doing so. Afterward, guide a student discussion about any commonalities they noticed among the characters. Additionally, ask if they think any figures are outliers.

Have students read the “Integrity: Benedict Arnold’s Treason Essay” either individually or in small groups. Once they are finished, distribute the “Discussion Guide: Benedict Arnold’s Treason.” If students read individually, have them pair up to discuss the questions together or in their small groups. Debrief afterwards with a classroom discussion.

Return to the character cards from the warmup and have students write a quick response explaining similarities and differences between their character and Benedict Arnold. Debrief afterwards with a class discussion as time allows.

Have students complete the “Integrity Worksheet” that night for homework. Students should also follow the instructions on the “Virtue in Action” worksheet and keep a journal for a week.

Have students research a historic figure or someone from current events who is a model for the virtue of integrity. Students can create a PowerPoint, video, or essay explaining who the figure is, how they acted with integrity, and compare and contrast him/her with Benedict Arnold.

Student Handouts

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