2018 marks the 241st anniversary of the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga and the 240th anniversary of the Franco-American Alliance. But was the victory that prompted the French to join the American war effort, truly the “turning point” of the War for Independence?
National Book Award-winner Nathaniel Philbrick joins us to explore the two events he sees as better turning points in the American War for Independence: Benedict Arnold’s treason and the French Navy’s participation in the war.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
National Book Award-winner Nathaniel Philbrick joins us to explore the two events he sees as the true turning points in the American War for Independence: Benedict Arnold’s treason and the French Navy’s participation in the war.
As we explore the American Revolution and its turning points, Nat reveals the important role the sea has played in early American history and the American Revolution; Details about the Battle of Saratoga; And, why Nat sees Benedict Arnold’s treason and the French Navy’s participation in the war as turning points in the Americans’ quest for independence.
What You’ll Discover
- The importance of the sea to early American history
- What caused the stalemate during the War for Independence
- The importance of inland lakes and rivers to the war effort
- Benedict Arnold and the Saratoga Campaign
- The Battle of Valcour Island, 1776
- The Battle of Saratoga as a turning point of the war
- Arnold’s wound at Saratoga
- Arnold’s command of Philadelphia in 1778
- Benedict Arnold’s act of treason
- Arnold’s treason as a turning point of the war
- Participation of the French Navy in the American war effort
- The French war effort in North America
- Plans and planning for the Yorktown Campaign
- The Battle of Cape Henry, 1781
- The Battle of the Virginia Capes, 1781
- The Siege of Yorktown
- The importance of contingency
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Nathaniel Philbrick
- Nat on Twitter: @natphilbrick
- Nat on Facebook
- Nat on Instagram
- Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution
- In the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown
- Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution
- Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890
- Episode 026: Robert Middlekauff, George Washington’s Revolution
- Episode 037: Kathleen DuVal, Independence Lost
- Episode 071: Bruce Venter, Saratoga and Hubbardton, 1777
- Episode 081: Don Glickstein, After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for American Independence
- Episode 122: Andrew O’Shaughnessy, The Men Who Lost America
- Episode 161: Smuggling and the American Revolution
In your opinion, what might have happened if George Washington had recommended Benedict Arnold for a command and commission in the fledgling United States Navy? How would the American War for Independence have been different? Would the Americans have needed the French fleet?
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