Foreign policy under Washington and Adams was aimed at maintaining neutrality and peace for the nation. In the period of French Revolution (1789) the Neutrality Proclamation was issued and later, when Napoleon came to power (1800) Adams signed the Convention of 1800 to avoid war. Under Washington the Jay Treaty was signed with Britain in hopes to keep peace, but the America was initially in a disadvantage and John jay was forced to agree to limit trade with France and to pay debts which Americans owned to British. Jay was claimed as a traitor. The matters with Spain were settled more successfully in terms of Pinckney Treaty of 1795. Under it, America’s southern boundary was set at 31parallel of latitude (Larson & Creason, 177-180, 186-188; Katers).
Republican government under Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and James Madison (1809-1817) abolished the Alien and Sedition Acts. Jefferson was opposed to army and navy and established state militia, decreasing national debt by one-half, which allowed him to abolish the whiskey tax. He retained National bank and the previous plan to pay off war debts. He also extended presidential power (Larson & Creason, 194-195).
As for foreign politics, in 1803 Louisiana Purchase was made adding Louisiana state to the Union. In 1807 Jefferson asked the Congress to ratify the Embargo act, which stopped the export but also hindered import trade of America. In 1812 war with Britain ensued, which lasted for 3 years. Although it didn’t end with American victory, it allowed America to build its own industry and inspired patriotism. In 1815 Republicans faced a conflict, known as Tripolitan War. Though it was not a war, but it helped to establish America’s authority in the world (Larson & Creason, 196, 200-212).
Looking back on these events it is hard to say which, Federalist or republican policies were better. It is solely a credit of Federalists that they established the state institutions as we know them today and tried to maintain peace with foreign countries as best as they could. Republicans also made great improvements concerning the liberty of speech, they built army and navy, improved industry and their foreign policy won respect for the USA by other countries. Both Federalists and Republicans played equally significant roles in American history.
Katers, N. The Federalist Foreign policy for America 1789-1800. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.
Larson, C. R., & Creason, B. P. (1993). The American Republic. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press.