Compare and discuss the presidential politics of the first four presidents in terms of foreign and domestic policies.

Expert Answers
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That's a very large question for the short space we have, but let me get you started.

Washington and Adams were our first two Presidents, and they were elected as Federalists, intent on protecting and even expanding federal power.

Jefferson and Madison are our 3rd and 4th Presidents, and they were elected as Anti-federalists, though it was often hard to tell in foreign policy.

Research some more on the Whiskey Rebellion under Washington, the Alien and Sedition Acts under Adams, the Louisiana Purchase and the Embargo Act under Jefferson, and the Non-Intercourse Act and the War of 1812 under Madison to get an idea of their policies as President.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The above answer is really quite excellent in how it deals with such a big question in a short space.  I'd just like to add a few more things that you could look at if you want to understand the various presidents' policies:

  • Alexander Hamilton's "American System" and his "Report on Public Credit" came during Washington's presidency and show classic Federalist ideas.
  • The XYZ affair shows something about foreign policy under Adams.
  • The Northwest Ordinance under Jefferson shows something about his attitudes towards the territories and towards slavery.