A signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and a governor of Massachusetts. The colonial Massachusetts native was raised by his uncle, a wealthy Boston merchant. When his uncle died, Hancock inherited his lucrative shipping business. In the mid-1760s, as the British government began imposing regulatory measures to assert greater authority over its American colonies, anti-British sentiment and unrest grew among the colonists. Hancock used his wealth and influence to aid the movement for American independence. He was president of the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1777, when the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the United States was born. From 1780 to 1785, Hancock was the first governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He was reelected in 1787 and served until his death in 1793.