John Hancock Biography ID 69

Best known as the bold first signer of the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock played a key role in the formative years of the American nation. Born in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts, Hancock became a successful merchant in Boston, where he rose to prominence in local politics and the pre-Revolutionary movement. As president of the Massachusetts Provisional Congress from 1774 to 1775, and as Massachusetts delegate and president of the second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1777, the wealthy and outspoken Hancock rallied support for the cause of independence.

Following the Declaration of Independence - which circulated abroad with only Hancock's signature - Hancock strove to be named commander-in-chief of the army. When passed over in favor of George Washington, Hancock resigned the presidency of the Continental Congress. He became increasingly involved in state politics and in 1780 was elected the first governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Hancock died in office while serving his ninth term.

Biography courtesy the United States Senate Historical Office

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