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John Hancock Signature: Why Is John Hancock's Signature So Big

John Hancock's signature is regarded by many Americans as a timeless representation of their nationalism and freedom. But why is his signature so renowned for its size? This article will examine the development of John Hancock's signature as an enduring emblem of American ideals. Now fasten your seatbelts and prepare to discover the John Hancock signature's fascinating story!

Who Is John Hancock?

A significant figure in American history, John Hancock is most known for being the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was a successful businessman and politician born in Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1737. He was chosen to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1768 when he made a strong case for colonial rights. He was also one of the wealthiest men in America at the time, and he contributed to the cause of the revolution with his fortune.

But John Hancock didn't become known as an American hero until he signed the Declaration of Independence. He famously signed his name in large, bold letters at the bottom of the document on July 4, 1776. According to legend, he purposefully signed his name in a size that allowed King George III to read it without glasses. Although this myth is probably untrue, John Hancock's signature stands out from the rest and has come to represent American independence for all time.

Mention of His Signature

The Declaration of Independence bears John Hancock's signature, which is famous not just for its size but also for its importance. Hancock's signature, the first to be placed on the document, represented leadership and bravery for the American people. It stood for his dedication to the fight for independence and his support for the principles upon which the nation was built.

In fact, John Hancock's signature has grown to be so recognizable that it is often used interchangeably with other people's signatures. One is considered to be "putting their John Hancock on it" when they sign their name in big, strong characters. This demonstrates how Hancock's signature is engrained in American history and culture and how it continues to arouse patriotism and pride in the nation's fundamental principles.

Why Is John Hancock's Signature So Big?

What makes John Hancock's signature so big, then? In reality, nobody is sure. Given that he was known to have a flamboyant personality, some historians think it was just his unique style. Others believe that because he was a passionate supporter of the revolution and wanted to demonstrate his dedication to the cause, he may have intended to make a statement with his signature.

Whatever the cause, there is no doubt that John Hancock's signature has come to represent the independence and patriotism of America. Americans still regard and respect his signature on legal papers from the Declaration of Independence. Hence, keep John Hancock in mind the next time you sign your name and the significant part he played in the history of America.

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Significance Of Signatures In The 18th Century

In the 18th century, signatures were crucial to communication and verification. People used handwritten signatures to establish their identities, ratify agreements, and complete transactions when there were no digital signatures or ID cards. As a result, John Hancock's signature on the Declaration of Independence served as more than just a declaration of his support for the cause of independence.

Signatures served as a means for people to leave their mark and claim their identity in the 18th century. In order to make their signatures stand out, people often took great care to include flourishes or decorations. It is stated that John Hancock took considerable delight in his calligraphy and that his signature mirrors his personality. His signature continues to serve as a constant reminder of the value of uniqueness and self-expression in American culture.

Hancock's Own Intentions With His Signature

While the exact reason why John Hancock decided to make his signature so huge may never be known, some historians think he did it on purpose to convey a message. Hancock was able to use his signature as a sign of his support for the revolutionary cause since he was a wealthy and powerful person in colonial America. He demonstrated his dedication to the cause of freedom and his willingness to risk his name and reputation by prominently signing the Declaration of Independence.

Hancock's signature had more than just symbolic value; it also had a practical function. As the president of the Second Continental Congress, he was responsible for overseeing the signing of the Declaration. He set an example for the others by signing his name first and making it big and clear to read. Also, the authenticity of the document and the assurance that it would be taken seriously by the American people and the British government were both enhanced by his signature.


Uncover the history of John Hancock's signature and its influence on history. Read our blog and see our collection inspired by this iconic signature.


The Signing Of The Declaration Of Independence

The Declaration of Independence's signing was a crucial turning point in American history. It was a forthright declaration of the colonies' aspirations for freedom and autonomy from British rule. The agreement was published on July 4, 1776, marking the start of a new era in American history.

What Pen Did John Hancock Use To Sign The Declaration of Independence?

John Hancock, one of the most notable signers of the Declaration of Independence, used a quill pen to sign the historic document. The quill pen was a piece of popular writing equipment during that time, as it allowed for precise and elegant handwriting. A bird feather, typically from a goose or swan, that had been sharpened to a point and then dipped into ink was used to make the quill pen. This method made the pen adaptable and enabled diverse strokes, from fine to thick lines.

What Museum Has John Hancock's Signature?

Visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, if you want to get a close-up look at John Hancock's autograph. The museum features a variety of historical relics, including a letter written by Hancock to General George Washington in 1776 bearing his signature. You don't want to miss seeing this wonderful piece of history, which bears Hancock's well-known prints.

What Is The Dunlap Broadside?

The Dunlap Broadside is a term used to refer to the first printed copies of the Declaration of Independence. It is named after John Dunlap, the printer who produced them on the night of July 4, 1776. The copies were printed on a single sheet of paper, and approximately 200 copies were made.

Today, only 26 copies of the Dunlap Broadside are known to exist. One of these copies was discovered behind a painting purchased at a flea market in 1989 and sold for over $8 million at auction in 2000. The Dunlap Broadside is a significant piece of American history and a reminder of the struggle for independence and the birth of a new nation.

Who Signed The Declaration of Independence?

While John Hancock might have been the most memorable signature on the Declaration of Independence, many colleagues of Hancock contributed to the signing of this legendary document. Other notable patriots include Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Samuel Adams, among others.

Each of these individuals played a vital role in the fight for independence and the establishment of a new nation. Their signatures on the Declaration of Independence signify their commitment to the cause and their willingness to risk everything for the sake of freedom.


John Hancock's signature on the Declaration of Independence is not only one of the most well-known, but it also recalls a period in American history when the country was battling for independence. Even if Hancock's signature may be larger than the others, it's crucial to keep in mind that each signer contributed significantly to the creation of a new country.

The fact that only a few copies of the Dunlap Broadside are still in existence today is a testament to the document's significance. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston if you ever find yourself there to get a close-up look at John Hancock's signature and other artifacts from this significant time in American history.

Final Thoughts

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  1. https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Hancock
  2. https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript
  3. https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/put+your+John+Hancock+on
  4. https://www.nps.gov/inde/learn/historyculture/resources-declaration-secondcontinentalcongress.htm
  5. http://www.historyofpencils.com/writing-instruments-history/history-of-quill-pens/
  6. https://www.nps.gov/articles/dunlap.htm

Article written by

Cynthia Post, Marketing and Branding Expert


Cynthia is a seasoned marketing professional with over ten years of management experience in the top tier global companies of the world. She’s been helping companies to thrive and grow their sales throuhgout her career after graduating from еру London School of Economics with honors. Branding, which includes both marketing and design, is her biggest passion that has been keeping her in the 5am club over the last 7 years. She is very focused on detail, new solutions and industry trends.

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