Arriving in Kentucky in 1797 Henry Clay brought a burning ambition not only for political and economic success but to create a prominent family. His goals comingled in his marriage to Lucretia Hart, the daughter of one of Kentucky's most successful men. More business arrangement than romance in the early years, the marriage brought lucrative opportunities in law and business. With a traditional view of marriage, Lucretia began immediately to birth children and Henry built his legal career, a political base, and an estate, Ashland, which would nurture both his career and family prominence. Lucretia, preferring a quiet, domestic life and a polar opposite to the high-spirited, impulsive, and charismatic Henry, has been seen as a detriment to Clay's political career. This chapter argues that she was a traditional wife and a dutiful helpmate.
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