By Becky Akers
United States -(AmmoLand.com)- Whether it’s Hillary Clinton urging, “We’ve got to rein in what has become an almost article of faith that anybody can have a gun anywhere, anytime” or Charles “Upchuck” Schumer decreeing that “there is no legitimate use for these [‘assault’] weapons,” America’s Democratic politicians frequently parade their contempt for the Second Amendment.
Even Republicans seriously infringe our right to keep and bear, let alone cranks like Michael Bloomberg.( everytown.org/mayors/ ) These ambitious gun-grabbers not only itch to manage our lives, they also tout themselves as upstanding candidates who deserve our votes and allegiance.
Yet in their zeal to disarm us, they’ve sunk lower than the most vilified turncoat in American history, a man whose name is literally synonymous with “traitor.”
Major General Benedict Arnold may have defected to the enemy midway through the American Revolution, but he revered guns and our unfettered rights to them. He recognized the indispensability of both to freedom—convictions he shared with all the Founding Fathers.
Arnold’s earliest actions during the war prove his devotion to an armed citizenry. In April 1775, when news of the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord electrified the colonies, Arnold was a merchant living in New Haven, Connecticut. He was also captain of the town’s militia and a fervent Son of Liberty. He must have rejoiced when he heard that not only had “embattled farmers” stymied the British effort to confiscate the guns and other martial supplies Patriots had stockpiled in Concord, but they’d chased the Redcoats into Boston. Settling into a ring around the city, those American amateurs now besieged the government’s professionals. They hoped to prevent His Majesty’s regiments from another effort at disarming the colonists.
New Haven’s selectmen debated their response to this defiance; they feared the British government’s revenge on any town assisting the rebels as much as we would fear the feds’. No wonder they voted against reinforcing their neighbors to the north.
But they hadn’t reckoned on Benedict Arnold. Roaring “None but Almighty God shall prevent my marching!”, he ordered his militia to surround the tavern where the selectmen had gathered (yep, our forefathers wisely liquored up before politicking). Then Arnold demanded the keys to the town’s powder-house.
The selectmen protested, though Arnold and his troops were only demanding the ammunition their taxes had bought. Eventually the committee handed over the keys. Then Rev. Jonathan Edwards, son of the famous evangelist, prayed for the militia’s success in battling tyranny, after which Arnold marched his column towards Massachusetts.
Enroute, they “subscribed” to an “Agreement” regarding their treatment and behavior while enlisted (no whippings, for one thing; no “Drunkenness, gaming, profaneness,” for another). They described themselves in this document as “fifty…men acquainted with, and feeling the most generous fondness for the liberties and unalienable rights of mankind, and who are, in the course of Divine Providence, called to the honorable service of hazarding our lives in their defense.” How’s that for “domestic extremism”?
Arnold had barely arrived at the rebels’ headquarters before seeking the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, the extra-legal body currently directing the revolt. He knew that expelling the Redcoats from Boston—and America—called for bigger armaments than mere muskets. And so he presented a plan for capturing Fort Ticonderoga with its British cannon. This iconic citadel on Lake Champlain had protected New England some 15 years earlier during the French and Indian War. Most folks considered it invincible, dubbing it “America’s Gibraltar.” Not Arnold. He’d often visited Fort Ti as a merchant; his knowledge of its layout combined with his innate martial talents—Arnold seems to have been born knowing more about military tactics and strategy than most commanders ever learn—helped defeat the few Redcoats inside.
Thanks to Benedict Arnold, Ti and its cannon now lay in Patriot hands. The founding generation understood that for a people to remain free, they must equal or surpass their governments in firepower and weaponry.
Arnold continued fighting brilliantly for the Patriots over the next few years. So what happened to turn this ardent lover of liberty against his country? After he fell in battle with a wound so severe it crippled him for life, General George Washington appointed him military governor of Philadelphia. There Arnold collided with a political party eerily similar to modern Democrats. Known as “Radical Patriots,” these politicians imposed price-controls (nearly starving Philadelphians in the process) while dictating what sort of amusements, clothing and even books their subjects could enjoy. They accused wealthy residents of loyalty to the British and, after stealing their estates, exiled them—or worse: the Radicals hanged at least two victims during their reign of terror. But one sin even the Radicals didn’t commit was disarmament. None of their edicts ever forced anyone to register, much less forfeit, his guns.
As military governor, Benedict Arnold tried to thwart the Radicals and protect Philadelphians’ freedom and property. When he failed, he appealed to the Continental Congress—but by that time, the Radicals pretty much controlled Congress, too. Fearing that if the Patriots won the Revolution, the Radicals would tyrannize all America, Arnold began negotiations with the British. He evidently considered King George and his Ministry lesser evils than the Radical Patriots.
From there Arnold’s story becomes as exciting as any spy novel—which is precisely why I turned it into one! Full of unrequited love and profound betrayal, Abducting Arnold features our hero’s exploits at Fort Ti and Boston, his beautiful but treacherous wife, Radical Patriots, spies, coded letters, and a spine-tingling chase to decide the fate of a new country.
Hurry to get your copy: the Kindle version is only $1.50, half off the usual price of $2.99 for readers of Ammoland!
About the Author:
Becky Akers is a free-lance writer and historian who publishes so voluminously that whole forests of gigabytes have died.
You’ve heard of some of the publications that carry her work (the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, Barron’s, the New York Post, American History Magazine, the Independent Review, Military History Magazine, the Ottawa Citizen, forbes.com); others can only wish you’d heard of them.
They advocate sedition and liberty, among other joys, so the wise reader will buy them now, before they’re banned.