How The First President Helped our Democracy Grow – And Followed The Sunstone Way

Welcome back to The Sunstone Way.

Did you enjoy your Monday off? Hopefully, you had the chance to spend some quality time at home with your family like I did.  It seems like holidays come fast and furious this time of year. This time, it was Presidents’ Day.

Most people identify the day with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln – often on top of lists as the two greatest presidents, and both of whom have birthdays in February.

Technically, Presidents’ Day was created to honor George Washington’s birthday, Feb. 22. (Happy birthday, George.) In 1968, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved it to the third Monday in February (we love our three-day weekends, don’t we), and many states invited Abraham Lincoln to the party.

But since today is actually George’s birthday, I think it only fitting to review why we revere him so.

Father Of His Country

To start, he is known as the father of our country. He earned the title: he led the Continental Army to victory over the British in the war for independence, presided over the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that shaped how our country is governed, then served two four-year terms – elected by acclamation through the electoral college – as the nation’s first president.

There were many triumphs over those years. There were many sacrifices as well.

From the time he took command on June 15, 1775, until the capture of Cornwallis on Oct. 19, 1781, it is said he only spent 10 days at his beloved Mount Vernon plantation in Virginia. It would take another two years of work to wrap up the war before he could return to Mount Vernon and his wife Martha full time.  I know that my wife Laura would be very unhappy with that arrangement!

First President

But his service and sacrifice had only just begun. When the Constitutional Convention convened, Washington was part of the Virginia delegation, and he was elected unanimously as its president. After overseeing the creation of the Constitution, Washington was unanimously chosen as our country’s first president.

He wouldn’t return to Mount Vernon full-time for another eight years. The electoral college was unanimous again when it gave Washington a second term.

There was a push for Washington to become president for life – an American monarchy of sorts. But in a decision that would shape the American Way, he refused. There was a peaceful transition of power—perhaps one of the first examples of this uniquely American tradition—providing the model for future democracies.

How It Relates

Washington’s guiding principle, from the Revolutionary War through his presidency, was to do what was best for the greater good. If that meant he had to sacrifice personal pursuits or time with his family at Mt. Vernon to be of service to the country, so be it.

A farmer by nature, Washington worked hard to plant the seeds of democracy, both during the Constitutional Convention and during his tenure as president. In a way, he was the Wood Dragon of his time, nurturing and providing what was needed for his community – our country – to prosper.

You remember that this is the Year of the Dragon, specifically, the Wood Dragon, don’t you? The Wood Dragon brings a period of new beginnings and sets the foundation for long-term growth. It provides the nutrients, the water and more to help things grow.

That’s exactly what George Washington did for our country.

And that’s exactly what Sunstone does for our community of founders, funders and friends. We bring together all the components necessary for growth – the nutrients (capital), the water (partnerships), and the sunshine (expertise) – to create an enriching environment. That’s The Sunstone Way.

Happy Presidents’ Day. And remember, always be a Sunstone!

John Keisler

CEO & Managing Partner

Sunstone Management, Inc.

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More About Sunstone Management
Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital sponsor firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in diverse early-stage technology entrepreneurs who seek to build great companies. We believe in the aspirational power of the American economy to attract and inspire investors and entrepreneurs from throughout the world. We deliver new and exciting opportunities for economic growth through the creation of innovative public-private partnerships, and our unique experience across government, education, and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. In the second quarter of 2023, PitchBook ranked Sunstone the seventh most active early-stage venture capital firm in the country, and 18th overall.

© Sunstone Management Inc., 2024

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