JohnHancockHe wasn’t an insurance man, but a wealthy Boston merchant and community leader who, along with his childhood friend John Adams, came of age at a time of increasing conflict with the British Crown, with Boston as the center of revolutionary thought, making today


Known mainly as the Founding Father with the most legible signature, John Hancock (1736-1793) began the 1760s as a loyal British subject considered politically moderate.

His position as a Boston Selectman and President of the Continental Congress, however, gave him direct experience with representatives of the Crown and a familiarity with their greed and contempt for British Colonists.

Hancock was a major player in all the textbook dramas leading up to the Revolution; the Stamp Act, the Townsend Act, the Navigation Act, the Boston Massacre, etc.

His moderation gone, Hancock’s public appearances galvanized the growing resistance to British rule, and before you know it he was signing the Declaration of Independence in Bold Font so King George would be able to read his signature “without using his spectacles, and double the reward on my head!”

Along with his buddy Adams and so many others, he was a wanted fugitive. Long story short, Hancock’s side won, and this generous man noted for helping the poor, even after the war cost him most of his fortune, went on to serve Massachusetts as Congressional Representative and State Governor, but is unfortunately remembered mainly as the namesake of an annoying insurance company and a synonym for the word “signature.”

•Suggested Activities: Remembering John Hancock ran against George Washington for President. Spoiler Alert: he lost the election.

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