"The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and to influence their actions." (John Hancock)
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' American Legends series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the lives of America's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
At the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, the foundational documents of the United States are kept under layers of bulletproof glass in an atmosphere of argon gas, in casements designed to retract in case of emergency into vaults designed to survive a nuclear blast. Americans are familiar with the famous phrases contained in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence, but viewers immediately notice how faded the documents on display are, especially the Declaration of Independence. The words can scarcely be read, nor can most of the signatures of the signers be made out, with one famous exception: the large, bold, distinctive, and most recognizable signature in American history.
Most Americans are familiar with John Hancock solely because of his famous signature, and his name has become a slang phrase for signing a document. But his conspicuous signature on the Declaration of Independence has overshadowed the various and important contributions Hancock made in colonial Boston before the revolution, the Continental Congress during the revolution, and Massachusetts state politics after the revolution.
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