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In all of American history, there are many men who stand out and emphasize the history ofour country. This man, John Hancock, is one of those extraordinary men that stand out.John s life began on January 16, 1736 in Braintree, Massachuchetts.John was the middle child of three. He was the son of (Rev.) John Hancock, born on June 1, 1702 in Lexington, Massachuchetts and son of Mary Hawke, born on October 13, 1711 in Hingham, Massachuchetts. Mary was once married before she married John Hancock Sr. Her previous marriage ended in her former husband s death.(Rev.) John Hancock was well-liked by his parish, was paid well, and was provided a very comfortable home. In return of their generosity, he was a faithful shepard. He kept an attentive watch over the morals and religious well-being of all members of the parish.
Ever since John s (Jr.) birth, he was perceived to go to Harvard. At the age of six, his parents sent him to a local dame school. Later he was sent to another school, in which he might have met John Adams, with whom he struck up a casual acquaintance. Like all the other children in town, he learned the basics of reading, writing, and figuring.All things seemed to go well, until the spring of 1774. His father came down with an illness, that later would be the cause of his death. His sadness grew more because of the reason that they would have to move. Mary s parents were both dead and a very difficult decision would have to be made by Mary.
Her anxiety to make that decision was lessened by the invitation from the
bishop and his wife, to live with them in Lexington. A year later, John was sent away to live with his uncle Thomas and aunt Lydia, and to attend Boston Latin School. It isn t sure if he moved there to live with his uncle or to attend that school. What is beyond dispute, though, is that this move altered radically John Hancock s life and altered the history of America, as well.
The August after John arrived, his uncle and him went down to the school
and applied. John was accepted almost immediately, after reading some verses from the bible. His age though caused a slight problem. He was almost nine years of age and all the first graders were almost seven. The master of the school, John Lovell, found a nice solution. Since John was excellently trained in Lexington, Lowell moved him up to third grade.
John was neither Lowell s favorite nor his worst student. By his fifth year,
he was ready to begin making Latin . He translated from Caesar s Commentaries,
Cicero s Orations , and the Aeneid. The major purpose of the school was to prepare a student in the liberal arts so he can follow the same path at college. The foundation of the school was classical languages, but with his mastery of the ancients, he also acquired knowledge of history, philosophy , and theology.
By the time spring came around in 1750, John was finishing his time at
Latin. He had completed the school s curriculum and was preparing for college. Of course the choice was Harvard. He was armed with a conspicuous heredity, money, and recommendations from Master Lowell. John didn t have any trouble getting into Harvard.
In the fall of 1750, John, Latin alumnus entered Harvard College. At the
age of thirteen and a half, he was the second youngest boy in his class, and he was ranked fifth out of the twenty in his class.
College work for Hancock was practically a continuation of his work at
Latin. The emphasis in college was still languages (Latin, Greek, Hebrew)7, but also he got the chance to study geography, geometry, arithmetic, and astronomy. It isn t known how well John did in school, but for his future, that was set by his family heredity.Besides John s good work in school, he also had fun, as many did in college. In late August of his sophomore year, two of his friends and him went to a local tavern. They began a drinking exhibition, but during this display, they got a black servant so drunk that they endangered his life. This act was not well accepted by theadministration and they were up for judgement. Punishment for this act could have been varied. A decision came andHancock, for very much promoting the ……..Affair , was moved down in class rank four places. The other two were moved down seven places.
Like most college students, there comes the day that they graduate. This
day came for John Hancock. It was in July of 1754, when John and his fellow classmates received their bachelor s degrees. That afternoon, he said farewell to his friends, all the memories, and set out with his aunt and uncle back home to Beacon Hill.After a few years of working under his uncle, John was given the chance to visit London and learn the English way of business. He had the pleasure of traveling with former governor, Thomas Pownall.John had his uncle s fortune under his wing for support.
In London, John was well-liked, but was too extravagant. His uncle wrote
him a letter, scolding him. John, after reading the letter, wrote back I am not remarkable for the plainness of my dress and can t say I am without lace……..I find money, some way or other, goes very fast.
When October of 1761 came by, John was once again in Boston territory.
His family was pleased to see him and his uncle especially proud of him, for doing anexcellent job of representing the firm in London.
About a year and half later, give or take, John was made partner of his
uncle s successful business. Thomas( John s uncle) declared I have this day taken my nephew Mr. John Hancock into partnership with me having had long experience of his uprightness and great abilities for business.
On August 1, 1764, John would have to go in life on his own. His uncle s health was getting worse and worse. One day, Thomas felt good enough to go to a meeting of the Council. As he reached the second floor of the building , he suddenly collapsed. The Council members quickly carried him home, in which he would die two hours later.Thomas Hancock was a very wealthy man. Not many realized that he was until his death. He divided up money among his family , but gave all the most valuable objects to John. John got the business, got much of Thomas land, and a good portion of his money. At the age of twenty-seven, John was now one of the richest men in America. In 1765, John was being influenced by political partners to run for a political position. In March, he was elected selectman. After being elected, he was considered a rising start , being that he was the youngest one elected to be a selectman,at the age of twenty-eight. As a selectman, he was involved with with the budget, regulation of markets, law enforcement, schools, streets, morals, and anything else that the town would want him to be associated with.In the following years, his business almost went bankrupt and the Stamp Acts and Townshed Acts were issued. During this time of turmoil, Hancock stood strong and after everything was said and done, John Hancock became a symbol of resistance.Over the years, his money and resistance against the British brought him
much popularity. In 1769, he was elected into the General Court, after serving many years as a selectman. Also he became a voice of reasonableness and soon would become the moderator at the town meetings.On March 5, 1770, a very unpredictable event happened. The Boston Massacre occurred.The next morning, a special committee was elected, whom John Hancock was the leader of, to go to the governor and demand that the troops be removed from Boston. After some bluffing from both sides, Hutchinson( the governor) agreed to remove the troops.Hutchinson knew if the troops stayed, more bloodshed would occur
and his troops would be in danger. Another act was passed and this was the Tea Act. The British thought that this was a very good idea, but it was a double threat10to him. It worried him that the British were using this as an opening to acquire other trade. To him, the more important thing was the political implications. Americans were being asked to financethe destruction of their own rights. That fateful night, in which the throwing of the tea occurred, was one that will always be remembered. Before the unloading of the tea, a meeting was held, in which they decided to do, what they did. John Hancock was able say, in a period of order, Let every man do what is right in his own eyes. 11 Shortly afterwards, Samuel Adams gave the signal for the men to go on the ship, after declaring this meeting can do nothingmore to save the country. John Hancock would go on to be the first signer of the Declaration Of Independence. John was a very smart, intriguing man. He was well-liked and known by all.John Hancock, in my eyes, is a true patriot. He will always been known to Americans, in
one way or another.
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