Peggy Shippen Arnold

Posted: July 13, 2008 in American Revolution, Blame a Dame, Covert Operations, Espionage, Skirts Who are a Problem, Treason

Benedict Arnold, the most infamous traitor in American history, has been undergoing a bit of transformation as late: one from being a nefarious turn-coat to that of being an under-appreciated, brilliant leader who was duped by love.

Now I’m all for calling spade a spade, if nothing else, this blogs shows the wily and wonderful acts women are truly capable of, but I’m not at all for playing “Blame A Dame” as what appears to be happening with Arnold. Serious scholarship does need to apply, thank you.

Peggy Shippen Arnold (1760-1836) was Arnold’s second wife and and fully half her husband’s age. She belonged to a prominent Philadelphia family of the law which remained staunchly neutral during the American Revolution. Prior to meeting Arnold, young Peggy had a bit of a flirtation with British spy, Major John Andre, who was later hung, reportedly, in retaliation for the execution of Nathan “I regret I only have one life to give for my country” Hale.

But Peggy married Arnold who was notoriously thin-skinned, self-righteous, and incapable of living within his means. The new theory on Arnold is that Peggy was herself a spy for the British and was employed to “turn” Arnold on behalf of Peggy’s “lover”, Major Andre.

If you’ll remember the little chat we had about Bond Girl, Vesper Lynd, and the MICE theory, Arnold is 2 for 4 on the Richter Scale of treason. He needed Money, and his Ego was bruised by lack of promotion. Whether this makes him an easy mark for 19 year old Peggy to convert, we don’t know.

So was the Shippen family secretly Loyalists? Was Peggy tasked by her spy-love, Major Andre, to target Arnold? Was Arnold just a pawn in Peggy’s game of espionage?

Or is all of this just another case of Eve getting the rap for the expulsion from Eden?


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