The purpose of this thesis is to explore the early and smaller espionage tactics during the American Revolution and compare them to the established Culper Ring. George Washington, the American general and later president, and Benjamin Tallmadge, the Director of Military Intelligence during the war, looked for a way to revolutionize espionage at the time. Prior to the Culper Ring, espionage was done on a small scale. Single spies were the most common form of espionage. Washington and Tallmadge knew they needed something new and worked to create something that would last and become sustainable. They were able to create an organized spy ring that remained hidden and proved to be very fruitful to the war. The ring challenged the concept of traditional British honor that was the cultural norm at the time. They found their success by employing the use of agents that fell outside of this cultural norm. They shaped the future of spying in the United States. The work done by this ring laid a foundation for espionage agents to build on in the future. The methods used by the Culper Ring were top notch for their day and kept their secrets safe throughout the course of the war. The Culper Ring was vital to the success of the American Revolution; without the intelligence they gained, the war might have ended differently. This thesis examines how they were able to find as much success as they did while comparing them to other American espionage units as well as British espionage units.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Sacher, John


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities





Access Status

Open Access

Release Date


Included in

History Commons