One Tuesday, June 21, 2011, the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan will have on display Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. This most important document reminds us that Lincoln’s leadership and foresight in issuing the executive order served to eventually end the nation’s sin of slavery and give the death blow to the Confederacy. I am further reminded that one of Lincoln’s top generals-George McClellan was against emancipation. What a tragic error in judgement for him-certainly a case of being on the “wrong side” of history. McClellan is also well known for his intense dislike of Lincoln. In letters to his wife he was full of invectives regarding his commander-in-chief. Here are some quotes from his letters:
“The President is an idiot…I went to the White House shortly after tea where I found the original gorilla…the President is nothing more than a well meaning baboon…There never was a truer epithet applied to a certain individual than that of the ‘Gorilla.’ “
McClellan ran against Lincoln as a “peace Democrat” in the 1864 presidential election. As we all know, he lost. I shutter to think that would have happened to the United States if he had won. While he eventually came to a political standpoint that to make peace with the Confederacy and end the war-keeping slavery intact was a bad idea-that was the platform of his party.
There is a street in Detroit named for George McClellan. I understand he was a general in the union army-and that does count for something. However, given his opinion of Lincoln and his political position regarding slavery-I question why.Mail this post