John Hancock

John Hancock, 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 Act (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 Adams 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).

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

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

John Hancock: Selected full-text books and articles

John Hancock: Patriot in Purple By Herbert S. Allan Macmillan, 1948
Origins of the American Revolution By John C. Miller Little, Brown, 1943
The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 By Robert Middlekauff Oxford University Press, 1985
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Boston Takes the Lead"
Paul Revere's Ride By David Hackett Fischer Oxford University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "The Rescue of John Hancock, Sam Adams, a Salmon, and a Trunkl" begins on p. 174
The American States during and after the Revolution, 1775-1789 By Allan Nevins Macmillan, 1927
Librarian’s tip: "Massachusetts Politics to 1787" begins on p. 210
FREE! The Loyalists of Massachusetts and the Other Side of the American Revolution By James H. Stark Jame H. Stark, 1910
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IV "Boston Mobs and the Commencement of the Revolution"
FREE! Diary of the American Revolution: From Newspapers and Original Documents By Frank Moore Charles Scribner, vol.2, 1860
Librarian’s tip: Includes news accounts of John Hancock
Papers By Thomas Jefferson; Julian P. Boyd; Lyman H. Butterfield; Mina R. Bryan Princeton University Press, vol.2, 1950
Librarian’s tip: Includes correspondence with John Hancock
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