Category: American History for the Modern Patriot

Benedict Arnold The Narcissist – American History for the Modern Patriot

 18 AHMP: Benedict Arnold The Narcissist In edition 17 of this podcast, we learned about a bevy of personality traits, and dare I say flaws, of Benedict Arnold. Today we will explore how those characteristics or propensities led him down the path to engage in a drama royal which involved George Washington and the Continental Congress, as well as engage in what can be viewed as either extreme acts of valor or unnecessary risk taking due to unrealistic views of the self. In Arnold’s case, that would mean viewing one’s self as having almost super human capabilities on the field of battle. Benedict Arnold’s personality was indeed ripe with negative traits or issues. Included in those were: Poor impulse control. Narcissism, grandiose thinking, and other issues related to an inflated sense of self. Anger management issues, and the willingness to physically punish and humiliate those whom were under his control. Significant risk taking behavior which placed himself and others in peril. Assuring personal gain to the detriment of those around him. However, to really grasp how those traits and issues negatively impacted his life, we must study his actions at pivotal points. In particular, those moments which were either situationally stressful (such as a battle) or those which were threatening to his sense of self. We will rejoin Benedict Arnold’s journey in the year 1777.  By that time, he had...

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The Fatal Flaws of Benedict Arnold – American History for the Modern Patriot

17 AHMP The Fatal Flaws of Benedict Arnold My question today is simple: What fatal flaws of Benedict Arnold’s personality contributed to his decision to transform from an ardent patriot into our country’s most well-known traitor? We will explore this question as we travel with him from his youth through the Continental Army’s 1775 invasion of Canada in this episode. A long favored topic amongst mental health professionals is whether someone can truly make a significant change during the course of treatment. It is certain that the individual we are talking about today, Benedict Arnold, was never in therapy. In fact, it wasn’t even available to him. Although topics such as the soul, psyche, and the mind have long been discussed by philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Locke and Descartes, and Founder Benjamin Rush advocated humane treatment for the mentally ill in America’s first textbook of psychiatry: Medical Inquiries and Observations Upon Diseases of the Mind,  individual analysis in a clinical setting didn’t really get going until the late 1800’s with the work of Freud and others. Moreover, people with certain personality features or types, such as are evident in individuals similar to Benedict Arnold, are fairly unlikely to make significant change. In fact, they are ego-syntonic. Meaning that they are fairly comfortable in their own skin and seeing the world through the glasses which they have been...

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The Great Chain – American History for the Modern Patriot

16 AHMP The Great Chain What was the greatest barrier built by the Continental forces on the Hudson River? What do we know about the patriot who designed and oversaw the construction of that barrier?  Let’s learn the answer to those questions in this episode.  In the 15th episode of American History for the Modern Patriot, we learned about several barriers constructed by the Continental forces to restrict the movement of the British Navy on the Hudson River. Those included a chevaux-de-frise which stretched between Fort Lee and  Fort Washington, a chain that floated between Forts Montgomery and Clinton, as well as another chevaux-de-frise  which was constructed between Plum Point and Pollepel Island.  We also learned about an extremely successful attack on several British ships by colonial fire rafts. Today we will learn about the greatest of all barriers on the Hudson. It happens to be called “The Great Chain.” The fact that such a chain could be constructed in 1778 is remarkable in and of itself. However, it is what was done with the chain that is truly astonishing. The chain was ultimately strung across the Hudson River and floated between capstans affixed on  Constitution Island and West Point. From the earliest recommendations of New Yorkers Major Christopher Tappen and Colonel James Clinton, as to how to best defend the Hudson and obstruct the movement of British, a chain...

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The Separation of Powers According to Montesquieu, Locke, and the Founding Fathers – American History for the Modern Patriot

14 AHMP The Separation of Powers According to Montesquieu, Locke, and the Founding Fathers Who was the philosopher known as Montesquieu? What governmental structure did he believe would be assure political liberty, and why did he believe so strongly that each branch must be firmly separated from one another? When we meld the ideas of Locke and Montesquieu together, how can we hear them in the writings of the Founding Fathers? We will explore these questions in this episode. First, let’s learn a bit about his life history Who was Montesquieu? First of all, his name is a mouthful to say the least! Let me see if I can stumble over it for you. His full name is Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu. In the 13th edition of American History for the Modern Patriot, we learned about the life and philosophy of John Locke. You will recall that he was an empiricist, meaning the he believed that knowledge arises not from a series of deductions, but from the sensate or experiential collection of data. He talked about broad concepts such as natural law, the state of nature, property, liberty, and tyranny. Montesquieu focused on much more concrete systems such as the structure of government. Is it any surprised that Locke was trained in medicine, and Montesquieu was trained in the law? But let’s start...

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John Locke and The Whigs – American History for the Modern Patriot

13 AHMP: John Locke and The Whigs Who was John Locke? Which English Lord was Locke’s patron, and why did the events of his life impact the development of Locke’s theories? Which party in Parliament was led by Locke’s patron, and why was the name given to that party so derogatory? What are some of the ideas from Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government  that impacted the Founding Fathers and were echoed in documents such as the Declaration of Independence? We address those questions in this episode. As you study the Founding period and the Founding Documents, you will hear about terms, concepts or ideas that were espoused by several philosophers of the Enlightenment period. Do your eyes glaze over when you hear someone talking about philosophy? It’s no doubt that for most people the idea of researching a particular line of reasoning can be about as interesting as watching paint dry.  In my mind, it is important to not only understand those premises  and ideas, but the context in which they were developed. Things often seem much simpler when you understand what was going on in the person’s life as those ideas were formed. In this episode, we will study one such philosopher, John Locke, as well as the social context in which he wrote a document that was of particular interest to many of the Founding Fathers. John...

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