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Declaration of Independence Signer. His signature on the document was so bold that when people sign their names, they are said to have written their “John Hancock.” Because of his leadership, he was elected to serve as President of both Continental Congresses. As President of the Continental Congress, from 1775 to 1777, he was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence. In 1778, however, he led 5,000 Massachusetts soldiers in an unsuccessful attempt to free Rhode Island from the British. In 1780, Hancock became President of the Convention which wrote the Massachusetts Constitution, and became the first Governor under the new charter. Extremely popular in his home state, he served nine terms as governor, a total of eleven years, from 1780 to 1785, and from 1787 until his death in Boston in 1793.

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