Mystery:Did McClellan Scorn Lincoln Because He Was Homeschooled?

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It is well-known, and widely taught, that General George McClellan viewed President Abraham Lincoln with scorn. McClellan showed the utmost disrespect for Lincoln, and frequently directed highly offensive insults at President Lincoln in correspondence, describing Lincoln as "an idiot", a "well meaning baboon" a coward, and the "the original gorilla."[1]

The mystery is why. McClellan's disdain for, and snobbery towards, Lincoln was right from the beginning and last right until Lincoln fired him, and beyond. Why?

The most obvious reason is that McClellan was trained, and excelled, at formal school, and even graduated number 2 in his class from West Point. Lincoln, in contrast, was entirely homeschooled.


  1. Sears, Stephen W., Ed. The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan, Selected Correspondence 1860-1865 (Ticknor & Fields, 1989), pp. 85, 106, 114, 135. [1]