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Home > Document Library > Immigration and the Moral Conditions of Citizenship > The Examination, No. 7


The Examination, No. 7

Alexander Hamilton
1802


[Hamilton criticizes a Democratic proposal for immediate naturalization of immigrants. — TGW]

 

The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment; on a uniformity of principles and habits; on the exemption of the citizens from foreign bias and prejudice; and on the love of country, which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education, and family. The opinion advanced in [Jefferson’s] Notes on Virginia is undoubtedly correct, that foreigners will generally be apt to bring with them attachments to the persons they have left behind; to the country of their nativity, and to its particular customs and manners. They will also entertain opinions on government congenial with those under which they have lived; or if they should be led hither from a preference to ours, how extremely unlikely is it that they will bring with them that temperate love of liberty, so essential to real republicanism?…

In the recommendation to admit indiscriminately foreign emigrants of every description to the privileges of American citizens, on their first entrance into our country, there is an attempt to break down every pale which has been erected for the preservation of a national spirit and a national character; and to let in the most powerful means of perverting and corrupting both the one and the other.

[From Hamilton, “The Examination,” nos. 7-9 (1802), Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold C. Syrett (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961-), 25:491-501.]





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