English one Pre ap period 2

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Zac Kuykendall


English one Pre AP period 2

1 June 2010

John Hancock

The underrated father of a country. He started a revolution and brought us liberty. Who is this phenomenal American? His name is known globally, he is John Hancock. John Hancock was born in Braintree Massachusetts. When he was very young his father died, and he was adopted by his rich uncle that lived in Boston. When he was twenty eight years old his uncle also died, John then inherited his uncle’s fortune and became the richest man in the Americas. Throughout the rest of his life, John Hancock achieved great things; such as when he served as president of the continental congress, his involvement with the Boston Massacre, and when he was the first man to sign the declaration of independence.

First, in 1775, John Hancock was elected president of the second Continental Congress (Comptons). In 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed, John Hancock was the president, “John Hancock, president of Congress, urged unanimity: "There must be no pulling different ways; we must all hang together." Benjamin Franklin concurred: "We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." (Nash). Also during the bulk of the Revolutionary war, John Hancock was the president. John Hancock was trusted to make good decisions during the country’s early times of peril. On the other hand, John Hancock was only the president for two years. Also, being the business man he was, John Hancock could have been making the decisions he did for his personal financial gain. “There he witnessed the coronation of George III and engaged some of the leading businessmen of London. In 1763, his uncle died and John Hancock inherited what was said to be the greatest body of wealth in New England. This placed him in a society of men who consisted mainly of loyalists, suspected by the working population because of their great affluence and social power.” (Kindig). However, John Hancock put more of his personal fortune toward the revolution and the independence of America than any other signer of the declaration of independence (Kindig). Without John Hancock as president, we may have not won the revolution; he used his money, power, and status to help win the war, and the freedom of our great nation.

Next, John Hancock helped start the revolution with his involvement with the Boston massacre. Hancock in a way, started the Boston Massacre when he didn’t pay customs to the government on the wine he had imported (John Hancock). Hancock wasn’t trying to start a fight, but he didn’t think it was necessary to pay taxes on wine that he, a citizen, had bought with his own money, and brought it into the country under his means on his ships. But Hancock did end up getting people injured and even a few killed. “Defiance of customs officers by Hancock and others was the justification given for moving British troops into Boston in September 1765,” (John Hancock). Still, Hancock didn’t mean or try to get people hurt, and he certainly didn’t mean for the British troops to move back into Boston. Hancock influenced history by these actions because would not have if he hadn’t have been caught avoiding customs, then the British troops don’t get moved back into Boston, and there would be no Boston massacre. “Hancock, like Samuel Adams, became a strong critic of the presence of British troops in Boston.  He joined in the call for a convention in Boston, consisting of delegates from each of the towns in the province.  The ostensible purpose of the convention was to discuss concerns about a possible war with France, but in actuality its purpose was to produce a petition to the King for a removal of troops,” (John Hancock).

Lastly, the arguably most important thing that John Hancock has done is signing the Declaration of Independence first. “On July 2, 1776, Congress voted to approve a complete separation, from Great Britain. Two days afterwards, July 2, the early draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed, albeit by only two individuals at that time: John Hancock, president of Congress, and Charles Thompson, secretary of Congress.” (Barton). Hancock put his life out for his country by making his name the largest and the first on the Declaration of Independence "The British ministry can read that name without spectacles; let them double their reward," (Drummy). On the flip side, if Hancock would have been killed, would it have been worth it? “The Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. But John Hancock, who signed the document first and with the largest signature of all, already had his life on the line. Hancock signed the Declaration with much bravado, in his well-known style, reputedly claiming that King George could read his signature without spectacles. But his bravado was anticlimactic compared to historical reality,” (Eddlem). Hancock could have died over ink on a piece of paper. If he had died then the whole revolution could have been halted to a complete stop. John Hancock was not killed because of his signature and because of his signature he was able to persuade the rest of the signers to put down their names on the Declaration as well. Without John Hancock’s signature there is no Declaration, if he hadn’t have signed then no one else would have signed and we could very well still be part of England.

During his life John Hancock did many great things like when he served as president of the continental congress, his involvement with the Boston Massacre, and when he was the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence. As president of the Continental Congress, Hancock made monumental decisions that affected the momentum of the war such as his push for the Declaration. Also, he incited the Boston Massacre which helped to start a revolution for our continent. Finally, he became the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence which solidified our countries freedom. I believe that without John Hancock involvement in our country and its historical roots and, without his full support, not only financially but also by his ability to influence the citizens, there may not have been a United States of America. “I have the most animating confidence that the present noble struggle for liberty will terminate gloriously for America. And let us play the man four our God, and for the cities of our God; while we are using the means in our power, let us humbly commit our

righteousness cause to the great lord of the universe, who loveth righteousness and hate iniquity.” (Copeland).

Works Cited

Barton, David. “ July Fourth: the Birthday of America.” Human Events, 2 July, 2002. Web. 13 May 2010

Compton’s by Britannica. New York: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2009. Web.

Copeland, Lewis and Lawrence W. Lamm. The World’s Great Speeches. Dover Publications Inc: New York. Print. 1973. Web.

Drummey, James J. “Their Sacred Honor.” The New American, 27 June, 2005. Web. 13 May 2010.

Eddlem, Thomas R. “Father of the American Revolution.” The New American, 29 July, 2002. Web. 13 May, 2010.

Eddlem, Thomas R “More than his name on the line.” The New American, 9 Nov, 2003. Web. 13 May, 2010.

“John Hancock.” Key Figures in the Boston Massacre Trials. http://www.law.umkc.edu.html. web. 27. May. 2010.

Nash, Gary. Landmarks of the American Revolution. City unknown: Oxford University press, 2003. Web.

Thomas Kindig “John Hancock.” Signers of the Declaration of Independence 2(2009):91 ushistory.org. web. 27. May. 2010.


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