The foundation of a matroid is a canonical algebraic invariant which classifies representations of the matroid up to rescaling equivalence. Foundations of matroids are pastures, a simultaneous generalization of partial fields and hyperfields. Using deep results due to Tutte, Dress-Wenzel, and Gelfand-Rybnikov-Stone, we give a presentation for the foundation of a matroid in terms of generators and relations. The generators are certain "cross-ratios" generalizing the cross-ratio of four points on a projective line, and the relations encode dependencies between cross-ratios in certain low-rank configurations arising in projective geometry. Although the presentation of the foundation is valid for all matroids, it is simplest to apply in the case of matroids without large uniform minors, i.e. matroids having no minor corresponding to five points on a line or its dual configuration. For such matroids, we obtain a complete classification of all possible foundations. We then give a number of applications of this classification theorem, for example: - We prove the following strengthening of a theorem of Lee and Scobee: every orientation of a matroid without large uniform minors comes from a dyadic representation, which is unique up to rescaling. - For a matroid $M$ without large uniform minors, we establish the following strengthening of a 2017 theorem of Ardila-Rincón-Williams: if $M$ is positively oriented then $M$ is representable over every field with at least three elements. - Two matroids are said to belong to the same representation class if they are representable over precisely the same pastures. We prove that there are precisely 12 possibilities for the representation class of a matroid without large uniform minors, exactly three of which are not representable over any field.