Friday, November 8, 2019

John Adams: A Medical Mystery?

Many people have bad tempers without being bipolar. I doubt that a man with such great accomplishments as John Adams would have such a debilitating illness as bipolar disorder. He was a brilliant attorney and the conscience of the American Revolution. They would not have sent him on a diplomatic mission to France if he had been a nutcase. From The Philadelphia Inquirer:
John Adams, the second U.S. president, was born with a proverbial chip on his shoulder. Contemporaries noted his frequent mood swings and behavior shifts. As a student, he suffered depressive episodes attributed to overwork. He abandoned early plans to study medicine, and instead went into law, disappointing his father, a Congregationalist deacon who wanted his son and namesake to enter the clergy.
People-pleasing seemed not to be one of his priorities. As a young, ambitious lawyer, he took on the task of representing British Redcoats accused of murdering five Bostonians. His neighbors were furious with him, but Adams insisted everyone deserved a fair trial. He won his clients’ acquittal.
In Philadelphia as a member of the Continental Congress, Adams argued passionately for independence from Britain. He was chastised by Benjamin Franklin for his bluntness, insulting other members for what he saw as their loyalty to the British crown. His temper alienated even those whose politics he admired.
He took his attitude with him to France in November 1779, when he was sent to negotiate an alliance at the court of Louis XVI. He behaved so undiplomatically, Franklin had him removed from the mission. From there, he became commissioner to the Netherlands to plead for financial aid to help his new nation. With his efforts meeting firm resistance, he became so unwell and withdrawn, he was said to be in a “coma” for five days. (Read more.)

1 comment:

elena maria vidal said...

John Adams got on well with Louis XVI, and they came to respect each other, whereas the King never liked Franklin.