Alaska Purchased


Secretary of State Seward negotiated the U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia for the sum of $7 million. The purchase was not universally popular and the treaty was approved by a vote of 27 to 12; only one vote more than the two thirds needed to approve the treaty.

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.