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John Hancock: A Neglected American Hero
CE ^ | July 3rd, 2010 | Gary Scott Smith

Posted on 07/02/2010 10:41:45 PM PDT by Salvation

John Hancock: A Neglected American Hero

July 3rd, 2010 by Dr. Gary Scott Smith

As we celebrate the Fourth of July this year, our attention will once again turn to such luminaries as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Samuel Adams. However, another founder who made substantial contributions to American independence, John Hancock, is typically overlooked and underappreciated. Although he served as the first president of the Continental Congress, did more than any other man except Robert Morris to finance the American Revolution, presided over the Massachusetts convention that ratified the Constitution, and played a major role in the state’s politics for two decades, Hancock has been overshadowed by many other founders.

As a Boston selectman, the president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, a delegate to the Continental Congress, Massachusetts’ first governor who served 11 years, and one of the richest merchants in the colonies, Hancock had tremendous influence. Hancock’s support of the Revolution cost him much of his fortune and put his life at risk, but the patriot victory gave him great political power, international acclaim, the gratitude of many Americans, and the deep affection of most residents of Massachusetts.

Today, a Boston-based company uses his name and occupies the most prominent building in the city, and a World War II aircraft carrier and dozens of streets bear his name, but at best, most Americans know that his signature is by far the largest on the Declaration of Independence. Hancock had no connections to the company named for him—John Hancock Financial Services, Inc. The enterprise chose his name because he was a famous founder, Massachusetts’ first governor, and a very generous philanthropist who assisted many whose houses and businesses were destroyed by Boston’s numerous fires and helped rebuild the city after the devastation of the Revolutionary War.

Moreover, Hancock has usually remained on the sidelines in the often heated debate over how to classify the religious beliefs of the founders. He has not been identified as either a devout Christian (as have John Jay, Patrick Henry, John Witherspoon, Elias Boudinot, Roger Sherman, Samuel Adams, and Charles Carroll) or as a deist (as have Washington, John Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Gouverneur Morris).

Neither scholars nor popularizers have paid much attention to Hancock’s faith even though it strongly shaped his view of the world and his actions. A life-long member of the Brattle Street (Congregationalist) Church in Boston, Hancock frequently used biblical arguments to justify America’s revolt against England and providentialist language to describe its battle to obtain independence. In addition, while serving as Massachusetts’ governor, he repeatedly thanked God for blessing its residents, exhorted them to repent of their sins, and strove to base state policies on his understanding of the biblical norms of justice and fairness. Convinced that moral conduct depended on Christian commitment, he supported the establishment of Congregationalism in Massachusetts and the strict observance of the Sabbath.

In numerous statements as president of the Congress and governor of Massachusetts, Hancock asserted that God was sovereign over earthly affairs and reassured Americans of His blessings. Writing to the leaders of the Continental Army in March 1776, Hancock proclaimed that the same God who had baffled the British attempt to conquer Massachusetts would defeat their “deep-laid scheme” against other colonies. In an appeal to all the states in September 1776, he declared that members of Congress relied firmly “on Heaven for the justice of our cause.” “I am persuaded,” he added, that “under the gracious smiles of Providence, assisted by our own most strenuous endeavors, we shall finally succeed.” In his inaugural address as governor in 1780, Hancock praised God for “the peaceable and auspicious” adoption of a state constitution. In 1782 Hancock assured members of the Massachusetts legislature that “the favor of heaven” would eventually establish America’s righteous claims. Hancock’s Thanksgiving proclamation the next year exhorted citizens to express their gratitude for God’s numerous blessings and to recognize their “entire Dependence” on “His Goodness and Bounty.”

Hancock’s contributions to American independence and to the political foundation and success of the new nation were monumental. As the president of the Continental Congress for two-and-a-half grueling years, he effectively mediated between various factions and helped convince them to work together. When competing interests threatened to tear the fledgling country apart, Hancock supplied a symbol of stability, moderation, and compromise that enabled Americans to elevate their mutual goals above their selfish desires. His effective leadership helped preserve the unity essential to winning the war against Britain. He guided delegates through numerous crises, including resolving their 15-month debate over the Articles of Confederation. As governor, Hancock helped persuade the Massachusetts constitutional convention to support the Bill of Rights, contributing to its passage.

While Hancock did not possess Washington’s character, John Adams’ intellect, or Jefferson’s eloquence, he played the principal role in Massachusetts politics for almost a quarter of a century and did much to attain and preserve American independence. Although Hancock’s vanity, lavish lifestyle, and some of his business practices conflicted with Christian principles, his faith appeared to be genuine and helped motivate his sacrifices for his nation and his concern for the poor and needy and informed his political philosophy and service. Many of his letters, speeches, relationships, and actions clearly testify to his religious commitment.

So as we celebrate our nation’s independence, let us give Hancock the acclaim he so richly deserves.

 
Gary Scott Smith chairs the history department at Grove City College, is a fellow for faith and the presidency with The Center for Vision & Values, and is the author of Faith and the Presidency: From George Washington to George W. Bush (Oxford University Press, 2006).


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: billofrights; foundingfather; foundingfathers; history; johnhancock; patriots; revolution; thomasjefferson
A salute to one of the Founding Fathers.
1 posted on 07/02/2010 10:41:49 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; markomalley; ...

Founding Father discussion.


2 posted on 07/02/2010 10:43:34 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

save


3 posted on 07/02/2010 10:52:48 PM PDT by Eagles6 ( Typical White Guy: Christian, Constitutionalist, Heterosexual, Redneck.)
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To: Salvation

Not trying to be a smart-a$$ here ‘but’ .. “The guy had one hell of a cool signature!”


4 posted on 07/02/2010 10:57:36 PM PDT by plinyelder ("I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: plinyelder

He signed a document or two, eh?

We still put our “John Hancock” on important documents.

It used to really mean something if you put your signature on something.

Your word and your good name were inseparable.


5 posted on 07/02/2010 11:25:46 PM PDT by One Name
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To: One Name
We still put our “John Hancock” on important documents.

I wonder how many people today, (young or old) even remembers that saying? As an aside .. I remember as a kid 'trying' my best to create a 'cool' signature like the one John Hancock had! (Never succeeded) LOL

6 posted on 07/02/2010 11:37:03 PM PDT by plinyelder ("I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: Salvation

I think he is discussed more than any other. How many times has someone asked you for your “John Hancock”? He is known by his large beautiful handwriting more than anyone.


7 posted on 07/02/2010 11:38:51 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: plinyelder

Dude had it going on!

You need to get a wing feather from a chicken, cut it off sharply at the end and practice..

When hand-written media was authentic and uncopy-able, what did it mean? I mean to say, wax-sealed, delivered by emissary, etc. This is from ME to YOU!

Those days are long gone.


8 posted on 07/02/2010 11:50:38 PM PDT by One Name
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To: napscoordinator



9 posted on 07/03/2010 12:17:48 AM PDT by plinyelder ("I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: Salvation

Do you mean Mr. Hancock gave generously of his personal fortune and was a key framer of our Constitution yet put nothing in there giving government money to people?? Wow! What a great idea! How quaint!


10 posted on 07/03/2010 12:29:41 AM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government)
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To: Salvation

Thank God everyday for these heroes who founded our nation.


11 posted on 07/03/2010 12:44:47 AM PDT by FreeDeerHawk
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To: One Name; plinyelder

Hancock must have been practiced at calligraphy. His signature really is beautiful.


12 posted on 07/03/2010 1:03:59 AM PDT by TheThinker (Communists: taking over the world one kooky doomsday scenerio at a time.)
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To: Salvation

bflr


13 posted on 07/03/2010 1:04:43 AM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: Salvation
but at best, most Americans know that his signature is by far the largest on the Declaration of Independence.

Yep. But most don't know WHY he signed it so large.

Does anyone else??????

Bueller?

Bueller?

Ferris Bueller?

Okay, first it wasn't that Hancock was more 'ticked off' or had a big ego, or anything like that, the reason was....

He wanted King George III to be able to read it without his glasses.

Thank you, History Channel :-)

14 posted on 07/03/2010 5:01:40 AM PDT by Condor51 (SAT CONG!)
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To: MustKnowHistory

Nice appreciation...


15 posted on 07/03/2010 5:02:35 AM PDT by Molly Pitcher (We are Americans...the sons and daughters of liberty...(*.from FReeper the Real fifi*))
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To: TheThinker
*** Hancock must have been practiced at calligraphy. His signature really is beautiful. ***

Everyone who could read and write back then had 'beautiful' writing. Especially the 'more educated' class. Plus the Quill Pens they used added that 'calligraphy' touch.

But alas, today kids don't spend much time in school on 'writing script'. But not that it would help, they can't spell either.

16 posted on 07/03/2010 5:10:01 AM PDT by Condor51 (SAT CONG!)
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To: Pharmboy

Hear! Hear!


17 posted on 07/03/2010 5:22:26 AM PDT by NonValueAdded ("Obama suffers from decision-deficit disorder." Oliver North 6/25/10)
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To: Salvation

Thanks, Salvation! Have a happy 4th!


18 posted on 07/03/2010 5:34:21 AM PDT by MaggieCarta (I'm never fully dressed without a snark.)
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To: plinyelder

Didn’t he, though? No matter how hard Sister Mary tried in the second grade, my handwriting looks nothing like that! LOL

I’m reading up a lot on the founding fathers right now and just the whole period of history in general. I majored in history in college w/a minor in political science. I’ve had a passion for history most of my life, thanks to my father (who died when I was in high school). Bores the he** out of my husband sometimes, but my kids find my knowledge helpful when it comes to homework time :)


19 posted on 07/03/2010 5:42:15 AM PDT by Hoosier Catholic Momma (Arkansas resident of Hoosier upbringing--Yankee with a southern twang)
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To: Salvation
...and a World War II aircraft carrier...

There was also a Spruance-class destroyer, DD-981. The ship was unique in the the name of the ship was in Hancock's familiar script across the stern.


20 posted on 07/03/2010 6:01:26 AM PDT by Doohickey ("It Takes A Spillage." - Mark Steyn)
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To: plinyelder

Thanks for the graphics!

They speak volumes.


21 posted on 07/03/2010 7:05:42 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Condor51

**But alas, today kids don’t spend much time in school on ‘writing script’. **

When we had an exchange student from Argentina a long time ago, she said that the childlren there learn cursive first. Much easier because they never have to take their pens from the paper.

Then when they get into upper grades — middle school or high school — they learn manuscript (printing.)

I wish our American schools did likewise.


22 posted on 07/03/2010 7:09:18 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Moreover, Hancock has usually remained on the sidelines in the often heated debate over how to classify the religious beliefs of the founders. He has not been identified as either a devout Christian (as have John Jay, Patrick Henry, John Witherspoon, Elias Boudinot, Roger Sherman, Samuel Adams, and Charles Carroll) or as a deist (as have Washington, John Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Gouverneur Morris).

Claims that Washington was a deist are false and designed to undermine the Christian heritage of the Founders of the nation. Washington was a devout Christian who rarely made a public show of his deep beliefs.

An account from his adopted granddaughter Nelly Custis-Lewis who lived with him for 20 years until his death is found within the following:
http://hubpages.com/hub/Was-George-Washington-A-Christian

And numerous other historical analyses support Washington's devotion to Christianity:

http://old.nationalreview.com/novak/novak200603140955.asp

http://swordattheready.wordpress.com/answering-the-charge-that-george-washington-was-a-deist/

The confusion over the participation of Founders as Masons is used by Atheists to sow doubt about their Christianity, and so such Atheists bring the Founders closer to themselves by claiming Founders were just a step away from Atheism by claiming they were 'Deists'. But historically the Masons were not always viewed as having an association with deism or atheism. In fact they were not always a secret society.

23 posted on 07/03/2010 7:17:28 AM PDT by Hostage
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To: NonValueAdded; indcons; Chani; thefactor; blam; aculeus; ELS; Doctor Raoul; mainepatsfan; timpad; ..
Thanks for the post, Salvation, and for the ping, my Patrioy friend NonValueAdded.

Good post for this weekend about a man who is remembered more for a signature than for his seminal contributions.

Allow me please to add a few points that show both sides of his character (i.e., bravery and vanity). And, to those who know these stories about Hancock, please forgive me.

First, it was he and Sam Adams that the Brits were looking for when they marched to Lexington on that April morning in 1775 (and indeed, they were ALSO looking for the arms cache that the Patriots had stored there; they were going for a hat trick). It was Hancock who bought Sam a new suit of clothes for his trip to Philadelphia as a member of the Continental Congress (Sam was not known as a natty dresser).

During John Adams nominating speech for General Washington as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, Adams went on and on about the gentleman without naming him. Hancock sat there listening and puffing himself up, all the while thinking that Adams was talking about him.

That ended abruptly when Adams said: "...and this Virginian..."

Hancock was mortified.

The RevWar/Colonial History/General Washington ping list

Have a Great Fourth, my Brother and Sister Freepers!! Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah!!!

24 posted on 07/03/2010 8:46:55 AM PDT by Pharmboy (The Stone Age did not end because they ran out of stones...)
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To: Condor51
He wanted King George III to be able to read it without his glasses.

Such a nice, thoughful fellow.

Also, as a man of business and politics, he knew full well that if the declaration came for naught, he was both ruined financially, and was a dead man personally.  He quite literally was signing his own death warrant, and wanted the king and anyone else who saw it, that he did it with no reservations or stipulations.

To say he did it to tweak the king's nose, takes away from it's importance.  The fact that the king could read it clearly would also put his head formost in the mind of the king, should he win out, in the end.

25 posted on 07/03/2010 9:05:04 AM PDT by zeugma (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam)
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To: Doohickey
You learn all kinds of cool things here on FR!

Wikipedia: USS John Handcock

I tried to post the wiki image of the stern of the boat, but it was just too big, and would have made the thread all wanky. You can see it on the wiki thread.

26 posted on 07/03/2010 9:13:26 AM PDT by zeugma (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam)
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To: Salvation
Excellent, I get to post this for about the umpteenth time! I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Hancock:

"The crisis occurred when the customhouse officers attempted to seize a cargo of wine which John Hancock was trying to smuggle into Boston. It was said that Hancock had sworn not 'to sell or to drink wine pollluted by the payments of unconstitutional duties.'

But rather than become a teetotaler, John Hancock took the easier course and became a smuggler. In June 1768, the customhouse got wind of his activities, boarded his ship Liberty and demanded to see its cargo.

Hancock and his men showed scant respect for these officials of His Royal Majesty. They locked them up in the cabin, landed the cargo, and when the work was done heaved the customhouse officers overboard.

Meanwhile the mob had learned what was going on at Hancock's wharf; and to punish the customhouse officers for their presumption seized the Collector and the Controller, drove them through the streets, and dragged the Collector's son along by the hair of his head. The Commissioners of the Customs did not wait for their turns to come: they fled to Castle William and thus put three miles of blue water between themselves and the Boston Sons of Liberty.

When one of the commissioners was reported to have taken refuge in Newport, the Sons of Liberty searched 'Out-houses, Bales, Barrels, Meal Tubs, Trunks, Boxes, Packs, and Packages...in short every Hole and Corner sufficient to conceal a Ram Cat, or a Commissioner, but they found neither."

from Origins of the American Revolution by John C. Miller

27 posted on 07/03/2010 9:32:06 AM PDT by Madame Dufarge
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To: Salvation
Shays' Rebellion was an armed resistance movement of about 4,000 men in western Massachusetts. Contrary to reports from the anti-Shays faction in 1787, and contrary to historians' accounts ever since, it was not a revolt of impoverished, indebted rural radicals. It included men of all economic classes. Many of them were veterans of the American Revolution, including Daniel Shays, who served from the battle of Bunker (Breed's) Hill onward, and was a distinguished officer who worked his way up from the ranks to captain. Lafayette awarded him a sword for his valor. These men revolted against a group of speculators who had recently gained control of the governor's office.

* * *

During the Revolution, the Continental Congress had issued irredeemable paper currency to pay for the war, the infamous Continentals, as in "not worth a Continental." These notes quickly fell to zero value. States issued IOU's to pay militia members. Notes issued in April, 1778, in Massachusetts quickly fell 25 percent of their face value. By 1781, they were at two percent of face value. Other states followed suit. Virginia's notes fell to one-thousandth of face value. Soldiers in the field sold these notes in order to keep their families solvent. The political question after independence was attained in 1783 revolved around the redemption price. At what percent of face value would states repay note-holders?

Unlike all other states, Massachusetts' legislature passed a law to redeem the notes at face value. The legislature was dominated by Boston's mercantile interests. While it is not possible to trace the ownership of all of the debt after the war, what can be traced indicates that 80 percent of the speculators lived in or near Boston, and almost 40 percent was held by 35 men. Most had bought these notes at tremendous discounts. Then, to add insult to injury, interest on these notes was retroactively made payable in silver. To pay off these speculators, taxes were raised. The main ones were the poll tax and the property tax, beginning in 1785. Prof. Richards describes the nature of this tax burden:

Every farmer knew that he was going to have to pay for every son sixteen years or older, every horse he owned, every cow, every barn, every acre in tillage. Everyone also knew that the tax bite was going to be regressive. Only about 10 percent of the taxes were to come from import duties and excises, which fell mainly on people who were most able to pay. The other 90 percent was direct taxes on property, with land bearing a disproportionate share, and polls. The latter was especially regressive, since it mattered not a whit if a male sixteen years of age or older had any property or not. Rich or poor, he was going to have to pay the same amount, and altogether polls were going to pay at least one-third of all taxes.

But would these taxes actually be collected? After the Revolution, the most popular politician in Massachusetts was John Hancock, the ex-smuggler/merchant whose signature is so large on the Declaration of Independence. He was among the richest men in the state. He was lenient to all poor debtors who owed him money personally. He let them pay him in depreciated paper money. The rich had to pay in silver. He was elected governor in 1780 and served for five years. He also was elected in 1787 and served until his death in 1793. He did not serve in 1785–87, the crucial period. He declined to run in 1785 because of gout. Gout normally affects the big toe. It can accurately be said that the great turning point in post-Revolutionary America was John Hancock's big toe.

Hancock had understood that the soldiers had been forced to sell their promissory notes for a small fraction of their face value. He was accused by opponents of refusing to collect taxes. When he left office, he was replaced by James Bowdoin, a holder of at least £3,290 in depreciated notes. He did not receive enough votes to command a majority, so the legislature had to choose. The senate insisted on him, and the house capitulated. Under his leadership, the political faction whose members had bought up these notes gained power. The government passed new taxes and insisted on collecting taxes that were in arrears. That tax burden was now higher by several times what they had been under Great Britain.

John Hancock's Big Toe and the Constitution

28 posted on 07/03/2010 9:48:52 AM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're <b>not</b> talking real money)
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To: Madame Dufarge

NOW you’ve gone and done it! I just found that book online at my local library and I’m going to pick it up when I run out later :) Like I don’t have enough reading to do! LOL


29 posted on 07/03/2010 10:14:23 AM PDT by Hoosier Catholic Momma (Arkansas resident of Hoosier upbringing--Yankee with a southern twang)
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To: Pharmboy
As Hancock and Adams sat in the Hancock-Clarke parsonage in Lexington awaiting the arrival of the British, John Hancock was hard at work trying to sharpen his ceremonial sword, getting ready to fight the British. No shrinking violet was he.

A very tired Paul Revere made his way back to the parsonage and to his horror found these two sought-after patriots still there, arguing about what to do. Finally Revere & Adams convinced John that the battle was not for them, they were management. Off they went into the countryside ... and that's another story to tell on April 19th.

It is good that Hancock was not given the command that went to Washington because John was a very able President of the Continental Congress and his deal making acumen was instrumental in holding things together.

30 posted on 07/03/2010 11:02:21 AM PDT by NonValueAdded ("Obama suffers from decision-deficit disorder." Oliver North 6/25/10)
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To: zeugma

There was a picture in my post, but it’s not showing. Here’s the direct URL to it: http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/0598129.jpg


31 posted on 07/03/2010 11:54:13 AM PDT by Doohickey ("It Takes A Spillage." - Mark Steyn)
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To: zeugma

There was a picture in my post, but it’s not showing. Here’s the direct URL to it: http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/0598129.jpg


32 posted on 07/03/2010 11:54:28 AM PDT by Doohickey ("It Takes A Spillage." - Mark Steyn)
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To: Salvation
Thanks for the post/ping, Salvation !

Happy Independence Day!

33 posted on 07/03/2010 3:06:32 PM PDT by jan in Colorado (In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act. --George Orwell.)
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To: Condor51

Really that is true until the invention of the ball point pen!

I found a letter from a young draftee in WWII who was in boot camp. He wrote to a HS friend named Joe. THe handwriting is beautiful, and there is no misspelling, or grammatical or punctuation error in the whole thing. THe content is quite ordinary — what they are doing in boot camp and how the writer wants to get out and join the troops in the field. And questions about what the other guys on his track team are doing. ANy ENglish, or penmanship, teacher would be proud of this letter.

I found that letter stuck in a bush at my manufacturing plant. Perhaps it blew off the garbage truck. There were no last names, and I don’t know why it had been saved for more than 50 years, but I cannot throw it away. I’ll probably take it over to the American Legion for their archives.

When we had to write with fountain pens and real ink, our handwriting looked much better.


34 posted on 07/03/2010 3:28:23 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic (Southeast Wisconsin)
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To: jan in Colorado

You’re so welcome.

Happy Independence Day to you too.


35 posted on 07/04/2010 8:24:32 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
A little tidbit to mention. John Hancock's chaplain, John Thayer, who was a Congregationalist minister at the time of Hancock's governorship and also commandership, traveled to Rome to dispute miracles accomplished by the Blessed Benedict Joseph Labre. It was at this time, Thayer converted to Catholicism and later became a priest...the first native priest on America. Unfortunately, he maintained much of the oppressiveness of protestantism, which caused him some problems.
36 posted on 07/04/2010 9:32:58 AM PDT by jacknhoo (Luke 12:51. Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation.)
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To: TheThinker
Hancock must have been practiced at calligraphy. His signature really is beautiful.

Most educated people of the time had beautiful handwriting. It was the MARK of an educated person, and some schools today still stress it, though too few, sadly.

If you look closely, you'll see all the signatories had good penmanship.

37 posted on 07/04/2010 10:02:22 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Hoosier Catholic Momma
I've always enjoyed history, myself! And sadly, I never had good penmanship, either. The only D I ever got in my life was in 5th grade, in penmanship. My Daddy though it was hilarious, because his handwriting wasn't that great, either. My mother was appalled! Her handwriting was beautiful!

I'm reading a very good book set in the early days of Texas, as a Republic, then as a State. It's called "Empire of the Summer Moon", and it tells the story of the Comanche nation and their attempts to push back the tide of white families moving into what they considered their lands. It includes the story of Cynthia Ann Parker, the nine year old daughter of a frontier family who was taken by the Comanche, then ended up staying with them, marrying a chief and bearing three children with him, one of whom became one of the last great chiefs of the Comanche.

38 posted on 07/04/2010 10:10:27 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: jacknhoo

I wasn’t aware of that. Strange things happen now and then. Thanks for the info.


39 posted on 07/04/2010 7:00:34 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NonValueAdded; Pharmboy

Well put!


40 posted on 07/07/2010 8:09:46 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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