Commonplace Book #78

If given to dispirited musings, [Alexander] Hamilton could never completely withdraw from politics.  His dismay over Jefferson’s success only added urgency to his desire to reverse the Republican tide.  In “The Examination” essays, Hamilton undertook a broad-gauge assault on [president] Jefferson’s program. The tone was captious and lacked the large-minded generosity that had distinguished his earlier work.  Jefferson wanted to abolish the fourteen-year naturalization period for immigrants, and Hamilton insinuated that foreigners, not real Americans, had voted the Virginian into office; he predicted that “the influx of foreigners” would “change and corrupt the national spirit.”  Most amazing of all, this native West Indian published a diatribe against the Swiss-born treasury secretary, Albert Gallatin. “Who rules the councils of our own ill-fated, unhappy country?”  Hamilton asked, then replied, “A foreigner!” Throughout his career, Hamilton had been an unusually tolerant man with enlightened views on slavery, native Americans, and Jews.  His whole vision of American manufacturing had been predicated on immigration.  Now, embittered by his personal setbacks, he sometimes betrayed his own best nature.

Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton, 658.