Who was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence?

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John Hancock was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence. Hancock was the President of the Second Continental Congress, a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies, which declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776. Hancock made the first signature on this famous document, a signature which is notable for its large and bold letters. It is rumoured that Hancock signed his name so large because he wanted the king, George III, to be able to read it without having to wear glasses. (You can view the signature using the reference link provided).

After Hancock, the Declaration was signed by the secretary of the Congress, Charles Thompson, and then by the remaining delegates, bringing the total number of signatures to 56. (See the second reference link for more information about the men who signed this document).

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Who signed the Declaration of Independence?

The 56 people who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 were made up of a cross-section of America's colonial elite.  Pennsylvania and Virginia had the largest number of signatories, followed by New jersey and Massachusetts.  Many of them are names you would not recognize today as being historically important or famous, although Benjamin Franklin's name is there (he was the oldest to sign at age 70) as well as Thomas Jefferson, and cousins John and Sam Adams.

John Hancock's name is perhaps the most famous today, signed larger than everyone else's, so that he would be better remembered.  I've included a link below to an indexed list of signers from each colony, with biographies on each.

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