“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 that love of country which will almost invariably be found to be closely connected with birth, education, and family.Hamilton was no doubt a bit too pessimistic here.
The opinion advanced in the 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? There may, as to particular individuals, and at particular times, be occasional exceptions to these remarks, yet such is the general rule. The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.
The United States have already felt the evils of incorporating a large number of foreigners into their national mass; by promoting in different classes different predilections in favor of particular foreign nations, and antipathies against others, it has served very much to divide the community and to distract our councils. It has been often likely to compromit the interests of our own country in favor of another. The permanent effect of such a policy will be, that in times of great public danger there will be always a numerous body of men, of whom there may be just grounds of distrust; the suspicion alone will weaken the strength of the nation, but their force may be actually employed in assisting an invader. ….
To admit foreigners indiscriminately to the rights of citizens, the moment they put foot in our country, as recommended in the message, would be nothing less than to admit the Grecian horse into the citadel of our liberty and sovereignty.” (Hamilton 1851: 775–776).
However, his sentiments, broadly speaking, are true, and both Old Liberals and Old Leftists should be absolutely realistic on the importance of civic and cultural nationalism for any successful nation.
Even more, the type of democratic socialism loved by the utopian left would almost certainly require a society with a very high degree of social cohesion, trust, and free from divisive internal ethnic, sectarian or religious differences.
This is the paradox of multiculturalism, which is often pushed by utopian left-wing people sympathetic to left-wing economics: actually, multiculturalism is liable to create separate communities of different ethnic groups, more interested in ethnic solidarity and sectarian interests, then class or economic interests, which would thwart the type of high-trust socialist society that these people supposedly value.
Hamilton, Alexander. 1851. The Works of Alexander Hamilton; Comprising his Correspondence, his Political and Official Writings (ed. John C. Hamilton). John F. Trow, New York.