Presidential History

Ira Stoll on Mitt Romney and John Hancock

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John Hancock, like Mitt Romney, was one of the richest men of his time. Hancock had a three-story, 56-foot-wide granite mansion atop Boston's Beacon Hill, complete with a ballroom and stables. Mr. Romney reportedly has a $12 million beachfront house in La Jolla, Calif., and a $10 million lakefront house in New Hampshire, as well as a Massachusetts townhouse. Both men went to Harvard. Both men were self-made. So to understand the presidential bid of the 70th governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, writes Ira Stoll, it's useful to remember the career of the first.