In 1776, fifty six men put their lives on the line when they signed a treasonous document.

That document, and many of the men who signed it, are known around the world today. But at the time those men gathered to pledge their support for independence from Britain, their focus was not on their own well being (though they could have all been executed for their actions) but on addressing the grievances they had with a government that treated its colonial citizens like lower-class subjects without the legal rights of a British citizen.

Most prominent among the signatures is the name of John Hancock who, legend tells us, upon lifting his quill, declared, that the “King could read it without his spectacles.”

John Hancock was born on this day in history in 1737. He was born into a wealthy Boston family. He used his wealth and prestige to further the cause for American independence and rose among the ranks to become president of the Second Continental Congress when the Declaration of Independence was crafted and signed.

Following the American Revolution, he was elected twice as the Governor of Massachusetts and served until his death in 1793. 

Yet today we remember his name because of the bravado in which he affixed it to our Declaration of Independence.

May we strive to have the courage and audacity of John Hancock who, when facing the very real possibility of death for his country, stood up and signed his name so largely that no one could mistake his intent.

May we be just as bold and stand up for what is right and true, even in the midst of adversity.