Francis Hopkinson

1737 – 1791

I was a small man who went on to do a great thing: sign the Declaration of Independence.

I was born in Philadelphia in 1737 and all my life people made fun of me for being small. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, opened a store and married Anne Borden of Bordentown, New Jersey. About 1773 we moved to Bordentown across the street from her father’s house. By 1774 I was caught up in the feelings of anger with the acts of Parliament and used my “weapon”, my pen, to write several satirical stories and songs about the issues and events of the Revolution.

I represented New Jersey in the Continental Congress and proudly signed the Declaration of Independence. A naval flag I helped design was later adopted as the flag of the United States and I also designed the official seal of the State of New Jersey. My Bordentown home was looted several times and in spite of my suffering I later wrote, “I have suffered much by the Invasion of the Goths & Vandals.… the Savages plundered me to their Hearts’ content–but I do not repine, as I really esteem it an honour to have suffered in my Country’s Cause in Support of the Rights of human Nature and of civil Society.”

I died in May 1791 and an obituary stated that the history of the causes leading to the establishment of the United States “will not be fully traced unless much is ascribed to the irresistible influence of the ridicule which he poured forth from time to time upon the enemies of these great political events.”

Learn More
Image Francis Hopkinson

Related People