John Hancock, a successful merchant and statesman, was the first person to put his signature on the U.S. Declaration of Independence. He was a key figure in the American Revolution who even donated his own money to the cause of independence. Early orphanage adoption by a wealthy, childless relative who eventually passed on his large business to Hancock. The influential politician Samuel Adams, whose patriotic stances sparked the young businessman’s interest in politics, was introduced to him. When the British government issued the Stamp Act, imposing a tax on the British American colonies and sparking a furor among the colonists, he became actively involved in politics. In addition to being anti-patriotic, British policies also created numerous barriers for conducting business. Because of his friendship with Samuel Adams, he was successful in getting elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Later, he joined the Committee of Safety and was elected to the Provincial Congress. Due to his expertise and high social standing, he was chosen to lead the Continental Congress, and as a result of his position, he was the first to sign the U.S. Declaration of Independence. He is famous for the bold and fashionable signature he put on the paper.
Early Childhood & Life
In Massachusetts, John Hancock was born to a congregational minister. His father, the Rev. John Hancock, who passed away when the boy was just seven years old, inspired the name of the boy.
His wealthy, childless uncle Thomas Hancock and his wife adopted him after his father passed away. Thomas had a tremendously profitable import-export business in Boston.
He completed his education at the Boston Latin School in 1750. He then enrolled in Harvard College, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1754.
Career of John Hancock
After completing his undergraduate studies, he began working at his uncle’s company. The French and Indian War began around the same period.
Because of his uncle’s good political connections, the government awarded him lucrative contracts during the war. Hancock got a great deal of practical experience and company management understanding.
He returned to Boston after spending the years 1760–1761 in England building relationships with suppliers and clients to expand his firm.
In 1763, he joined his uncle’s company as a full partner. When his uncle passed away in 1764, he inherited the company and his extensive properties, making him one of the richest people in the colonies.
The Sugar Act, which was approved by the British parliament in 1764 and met with resistance from the colonies. James Otis, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams were all against it.
In 1765, he was selected as one of Boston’s five selectmen. He and other businesspeople boycotted British goods in the same year that the Stamp Act was passed in protest.
He was chosen to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1766. He was now a well-known political figure in Boston by this point.
The Townshend Acts, which the British passed in 1767, imposed a number of limitations on import-export trade. Merchants like Hancock were enraged by the Acts and demanded a boycott of British imports until they were abolished.
British officials seized Hancock’s sloop “Liberty” in 1768 on the grounds that they believed he was using it to smuggle commodities. He was given several charges, however they were eventually dropped. Although there was no evidence to support this assertion, this occurrence led many to accuse him of being a smuggler.
In March 1770, five citizens were slain by British forces during the Boston Massacre. Hancock persuaded Colonel William Dalrymple and Governor Thomas Hutchinson to pull the troops out of Boston during their meeting.
The Bostonians’ protest against the British after they passed the Tea Act in 1773 gave rise to the “Boston Tea Party.” He publicly endorsed the tea party even if he did not attend it.
He gave the fourth annual Massacre Day oration in 1774, reading a speech he had co-written with Samuel Adams and others. His reputation as a genuine son of America was bolstered by the fact that this speech was widely publicized and distributed.
Hancock was elected president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress when it was established in 1774. He was chosen as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress and served on the Committee of Safety.
In 1775, he was chosen to lead the Continental Congress. He was a very important patriotic figure who stood the risk of being arrested by British officials due to his social standing and several political positions.
John Hancock, the president of the Continental Congress, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776, following its approval on July 4, 1776. He is well-known for his bold and fashionable signature that appears on the Declaration.
In 1777, after taking a leave of absence from the Congress, he went back to Boston and won re-election to the House of Representatives.
He was chosen to serve as the Governor of Massachusetts in 1780. He comfortably won the reelections by sizable percentages because of his high level of support in the state. He held this office until 1785, when his declining health forced him to quit.
Bigger Works of John Hancock
He is renowned for serving as the President of the Continental Congress on August 2, 1776, the day the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. He was the first representative to sign the document, and he did it flamboyantly.
Personal Legacy & Life
On August 28, 1775, he wed Dorothy Quincy. The couple’s two children both passed away while they were young.
He had a rich and frequently extravagant life as a prosperous trader.
He was well-respected for his charity and was well-known for making large donations to widows, orphans, and other vulnerable groups in the community.
His later years were characterized by a number of medical issues, notably gout. In 1793, he passed away at the age of 56.
Net worth of John Hancock
The estimated net worth of John Hancock is about $1 million
He received criticism for living an opulent and luxurious life.
In his honor, a town in Massachusetts was given the name Hancock.
Even though the claim lacked legal support, some of his critics had called him a smuggler.