Those who are familiar with West Point and its workings are also aware that it engenders the most contemptible aristocracy in this country. The profession of arms is alluring to youth and callow manhood; the forced gentility and mechanical manners taught, tend to the fostering of a dull mediocrity - a repression of individuality - an undue sentiment of reverence for those officially superior, and a feeling of contempt for all below. The very attire engenders illegitimate pride and ever-preening vanity; and a spirit of caste is infused, as trenchant and deeply ingrained as that of the Brahmins. It is not forgotten that in the British army the officers are spawned from the titled aristocracy. Manhood is estimated in the order of rank, and groupings take place accordingly. A conventional General is at the zenith of the social fabric, and a private soldier at the foundation, although the latter may have brains, and the former none. And it was this very infusion of artificial manners, and social mechanisms and evisceration of manhood, that replaced national patriotism with esprit de corps; and that caused the recusancy of Stone at Ball's Bluff - of Buell in Kentucky, and of Porter at the second Bull Run.
West Point: "contemptible"
We're all familiar with the diatribes against West Point made during the Civil War. Here's a particularly choice specimen from Henry C. Whitney's Life on the Circuit with Lincoln (1892). It comes in the midst of a chapter attacking McClellan: