This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

The Digital Skeptic: The Web as Founded by George Washington

Facing what any sane man would consider near certain defeat and probable death, Washington marches on to surprise and prevail over King George's Hessian mercenaries and notch a critical early win in the American war for independence.

Now, our digital-age leaders are smart enough, I suppose. But do any of them have that kind of guts? I doubt it

Washington's letter to investors
What's deflating about Washington is that his place in history is muted mostly because he's viewed as an intellectual second-rower when compared with America's other top chief executives, such as Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt. But if investors actually take the time to read Washington's words, they'll find some of the most literate, compassionate and downright useful thinking produced by any U.S. leader.

I am particularly stirred by Washington's Circular to the States, written June 8, 1783, just days after the English capitulation. "When we consider the magnitude of the prize we contended for, the doubtful nature of the contest and the favorable manner in which it has terminated," he wrote, "We shall find the greatest possible reason for gratitude and rejoicing."

This letter -- almost St. Paul-like -- goes on to dive deeply into the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead for a young and still vulnerable country.

"It appears to me there is an option still left to the United States of America, that it is in their choice, and depends upon their conduct, whether they will be respectable and prosperous, or contemptible and miserable as a Nation," he wrote.

Washington then breaks the task ahead into four simple steps -- to have a union of states under one federal head; a sacred regard for justice; the adoption of a proper peace establishment; and, finally:

Among the people of the United States, there must be a means to "induce them to forget their local prejudices and policies, to make those mutual concessions which are requisite to the general prosperity," Washington wrote. "And in some instances, to sacrifice their individual advantages to the interest of the Community."

The letter leads investors to an interesting set of ideas: What if a smart, capable and deeply good man such as Washington had the same hand in creating the Web that he had in creating our country? Chances are the complexities we now struggle with online of balancing our freedom with the needs of private property, security and profit would not be afterthoughts.

They'd be core values.

To these tired eyes, the Web Washington would have built would have been like the America he did build: a beacon of prosperity to the world. Not the lawless Sierra Leone we currently hustle around in. A land where the few enrich themselves and most go hungry.

A country can only be lucky every so often, I suppose.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.
2 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,279.74 +13.75 0.08%
S&P 500 2,010.40 -0.96 -0.05%
NASDAQ 4,579.7870 -13.6380 -0.30%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs