John Hancock

Portrait by [[John Singleton Copley]], {{circa|1770–1772}} John Hancock ( – October 8, 1793) was an American Founding Father, merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He was the longest-serving president of the Continental Congress, having served as the second president of the Second Continental Congress and the seventh president of the Congress of the Confederation. He was the first and third governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is remembered for his large and stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that in the United States, or has become a colloquialism for a person's signature. He also signed the Articles of Confederation, and used his influence to ensure that Massachusetts ratified the United States Constitution in 1788.

Before the American Revolution, Hancock was one of the wealthiest men in the Thirteen Colonies, having inherited a profitable mercantile business from his uncle. He began his political career in Boston as a protégé of Samuel Adams, an influential local politician, though the two men later became estranged. Hancock used his wealth to support the colonial cause as tensions increased between colonists and Great Britain in the 1760s. He became very popular in Massachusetts, especially after British officials seized his sloop ''Liberty'' in 1768 and charged him with smuggling. Those charges were eventually dropped; he has often been described as a smuggler in historical accounts, but the accuracy of this characterization has been questioned. Provided by Wikipedia
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