Hancock, John


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Hancock, John,

1737–93, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Braintree, Mass. From an uncle he inherited Boston's leading mercantile firm, and naturally he opposed the Stamp ActStamp Act,
1765, revenue law passed by the British Parliament during the ministry of George Grenville. The first direct tax to be levied on the American colonies, it required that all newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, commercial bills, advertisements, and other papers
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 (1765) and other British trade restrictions. In 1768 his ship Liberty was seized as a smuggler and confiscated by the crown. A riot ensued, and later the ship was burned. Hancock was hailed as a martyr and elected (1766) to the legislature, where he joined Samuel AdamsAdams, Samuel,
1722–1803, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Boston, Mass.; second cousin of John Adams. An unsuccessful businessman, he became interested in politics and was a member (1765–74) and clerk
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 in advocating resistance to England. In 1775, Gen. Thomas Gage issued a warrant for their arrest, but they escaped. Hancock was a member (1775–80, 1785–86) and president (1775–77, 1785–86) of the Continental Congress. His name appears first (and largest) on the Declaration of Independence, and the term "John Hancock" is often used to mean a signature. He was governor of Massachusetts (1780–85, 1787–93).

Bibliography

See biographies by L. Sears (1912, repr. 1972), W. T. Baxter (1945), H. S. Allan (1948), and F. Wagner (1964).

Hancock, John

 

Born Jan. 12, 1737, in Braintree (now Quin-cy), Mass.; died there Oct. 8, 1793. American political figure at the time of the American Revolution.

Hancock was a wealthy merchant. He became one of the leaders of the colonists as a result of his vigorous opposition to the British government’s restrictions on trade and industry in the North American colonies. He was one of the organizers of the Boston Tea Party of 1773 and of the first armed actions against the British authorities in 1775. He was president of the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1777 and continued as a member in 1777–78. Hancock was elected to nine consecutive terms as governor of Massachusetts.

Hancock, John

(1737–93) merchant, patriot; born in Braintree, Mass. He inherited his uncle's merchant business in 1764, and entered the patriot ranks in 1765 in opposition to the Stamp Act. He engaged in smuggling and one of his ships was seized in 1769. He served as the president of the Massachusetts Provisional Congress (1774–75) and as president of the First and Second Continental Congresses (1775–77). He was the first member to sign the Declaration of Independence. Following his period in Congress (1775–80), he helped to frame the Massachusetts constitution and was elected as the first governor of that state (1780–85; 1787–93). He presided at the state convention which ratified the Constitution and he died during his ninth term as governor.
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