|Russia offered to sell the United States its territory in Alaska. Secretary of State Seward negotiated a treaty for $7 million dollars.
Congress was not enthusiastic, and therefore, reluctant to approve the treaty and appropriate the necessary funds. At the time, some called the purchase "Seward's Folly." Newspapers called the territory: "a national iceberg, consisting of nothing but walrus covered icebergs."
The administration claimed there were valuable minerals in Alaska. This, combined with some bribes from the Czar agents, and a reluctance to alienate Czar Alexander II of Russia, who had supported the Union during the war, resulted in a vote of 27-12 in favor of the treaty.