William Sharon: California’s Machiavellian banker
An editorial in The Virginia City Territorial Enterprise greeted William Sharon's return to Nevada to run for the U.S. Senate: "You are probably aware that you have returned to a community where you are feared, hated and despised. . . . Your career in Nevada for the past nine years has been one of merciless rapacity. ... You cast honor, honesty and the commonest civilities aside. You broke faith with men whenever you could subserve your purpose by so doing." Sharon spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the election and lost. But Sharon, as rich as a Rajah, as clever as Machiavelli and as hardheaded as he was hard-hearted, had his sights firmly fixed on Washington. It took several years, the purchase of countless votes, nearly a million dollars placed into the right pockets and buying the Territorial Enterprise before Sharon finally succeeded, leaving Nevada for the Capitol as Nevada's esteemed Senator.