Founding Father: John Hancock
John Hancock’s Early Life
John Hancock was born on January 12, 1737 to a very wealthy family in Braintree Massachusetts, which is now called Quincy. John Hancock had a very happy childhood with his mother, father, and two siblings. John Hancock often studied and played with his friend, John Adams, who later went on to become the first Vice-President and the second President of the United States.
John Hancock’s father died when he was 7 years old, and his mother was too poor to keep the family together, so John went to live with his aunt and uncle, Lydia and Thomas Hancock. John Hancock’s aunt and uncle raised him as though he was their own son.
John Hancock’s Education and Early Career
John Hancock went to Boston Latin school, where he graduated in 1750 and went on to Harvard University. While he was at Harvard, John Hancock was known for being a John Hancock very good student who was also popular with his classmates. John Hancock received his degree from Harvard in 1754.
After John Hancock graduated, he worked for his uncle at the Thomas Hancock & Company firm. He found people to do business with that made his uncle’s firm successful even during the French and Indian War. When his uncle died, John Hancock took over the real estate and shipping business. At the age of 27, John Hancock managed this company and became the richest man in Massachusetts.
Although John Hancock became powerful and rich very quickly, he still cared about his friends and his community. He often donated money to schools, churches, and the poor people in Massachusetts. His generosity made him very popular among the people in Boston. Using this attention, John Hancock used his leadership skills and soon became interested in politics.
John Hancock’s Political Career
Hancock caught people’s political attention first in the 1760s when he protested the Stamp act and the Sugar Act, which were two tax acts passed by the British Parliament to tax the colonies. John Hancock joined the Sons of Liberty where he protested against the British.
John Hancock career in politics started in 1766 when he became a member of the Boston Assembly. For the next 30 years, John Hancock worked to climb the political ladder. In 1773, John Hancock eventually became President for the Congress of Massachusetts. Two years later, he became the President of the Continental Congress.
With his power, popularity, and wealth, John Hancock made a very big impact during the American Revolution. John Hancock is most famous for his very large, stylish signature on the Declaration of Independence.
Many important documents came out of the Continental Congress during the American Revolution. As the president of the Continental Congress, John Hancock got to preside over many debates among delegates.
John Hancock proved his drive and courage during the Revolutionary War. John Hancock was against the British and he was promoted to major general in the Massachusetts militia. John Hancock worked to find supplies and money for the colonial soldiers. His leadership skills helped create the United States we know today.
After the Revolutionary War, John Hancock returned to Massachusetts. In 1780, he was elected as the first governor. He was then re-elected 11 times until his death on October 3, 1793.
Fun Facts about John Hancock
• John Hancock’s signature was so big on the Declaration of Independence, that today the slang term for a signature is “your John Hancock.”
• John Hancock was the only person who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4. Everyone else had signed it a few weeks later.