The Story of John Hancock’s Signature – Manage Your Life on Shine
You’ve heard it before….”Put your John Hancock here”. What does it mean? I mean really? What does it mean? There’s gotta be a story behind it. Betsy Ross was never hired by the government to sew the flag, so did she? Ok, I’m getting off track. Why is John Hancock’s signature so big, why don’t we say “Put your Thomas Jefferson here?
It’s a neat story about American brashness, but it isn’t very accurate. The truth is a tad less dramatic. Snopes.com explains that Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, gave a super-sized signature not because he was itching for a fight with the king, but because, among other things, he happened to be the first person to sign the document.
Because Hancock was the first to sign, he did the sensible thing and put his name front and center. He was the leader of the Congress, after all. He didn’t know his fellow patriots would sign their names on a smaller scale.
So, why are some of the other signatures high and to the left while others are down and to the right? The National Archives explains, “In accordance with prevailing custom, the other delegates began to sign at the right below the text, their signatures arranged according to the geographic location of the states they represented. New Hampshire, the northernmost state, began the list, and Georgia, the southernmost, ended it.”
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