Chapter

The Architect of his Own Fortunes Solomon Porcius Sharp

Matthew G. Schoenbachler

in Murder and Madness

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125664
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135373 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813125664.003.0002
The Architect of his Own Fortunes Solomon Porcius Sharp

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Solomon Porcius Sharp's short life was an object lesson in the opportunities of young America, a self-willed demonstration of the ability of ambitious white men through discipline or luck or both to rise from abject poverty to prominence and stature. If the arc of Sharp's career comports well with the myths of American mobility, it is difficult to recover the personality of the man himself. Most of the descriptions of Sharp were written by partisans after his murder had politicized his memory. He married Elizabeth T. Scott a year after they met. In early 1819, Solomon Sharp was only thirty-one years old and was, by almost any standard with which he was familiar, tremendously successful. Politically, despite a reputation that had been moderately tarnished by the rough-and-tumble politics of the new West, he was still a rising star. Sharp was a bundle of contradictions: his humble origins, militarism, and rough edges had proved popular with Kentuckians, even as his discipline and refinement had set him apart from them. He was proud and not easily intimidated, crude yet struggling for a measure of refinement. By turns charming and abrasive, Solomon P. Sharp was the quintessential child of the West.

Keywords: Solomon Porcius Sharp; politics; Kentucky; Elizabeth T. Scott; poverty; prominence; stature

Chapter.  13201 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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