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  1. #1 Elite Member Okla-homey's Avatar
    Admit nothing, deny everything, demand proof...

    Good Morning...Seward's icebox

    Mar 30, 1867: "Seward's Icebox"

    Alaska...America's Great White North.

    On this day 140 years ago, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signs a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre for 591,000 square miles of territory, the Alaskan purchase was ridiculed in Congress and in the press as "Seward's folly," "Seward's icebox," and President Andrew Johnson's "polar bear garden."

    Seward's statue in Madison Square Park in NYC. Seward was a native New Yorker who practiced law in Auburn before entering politics.

    The czarist government of Russia, which had established a presence in Alaska in the mid-18th century, first approached the United States about selling the territory during the administration of President James Buchanan, but negotiations were stalled by the outbreak of the Civil War.

    After the Civil War ended in 1865, Seward, a supporter of territorial expansion, was eager to acquire the tremendous landmass of Alaska, an area roughly one-fifth the size of the rest of the United States. Seeing the giant Alaska territory as a chance to cheaply expand the size of the nation, William H. Seward, President Andrew Johnson's secretary of state, moved to arrange the purchase of Alaska.

    Bill Seward. He was a tough old bird. Survived an assassination attempt by a co-conspirator the night of Lincoln's death.

    Seward had some difficulty making the case for the purchase of Alaska before the Senate, which ratified the treaty by a margin of just one vote on April 9, 1867.

    President Andrew Johnson. Staunchly Pro-Union and Republican, nevertheless his Tennessee birth caused many in the party to question his loyalty, particularly since he wished to take a more forgiving approach to the southern section of the recently re-United States. It didn't help he had little former education and was a tailor by trade.

    In their attempts to make President Johnson's life as tough as possible, his opponents succeeded in delaying approval of the $7 million Alaska appropriation. But after a year of squabbling, Congress appropriated money for the purchase, and Russia formally transferred control of the vast northern land to the United States.

    Inking the deal

    Six months later, Alaska was formally handed over from Russia to the United States. Despite a slow start in U.S. settlement, the discovery of gold in 1898 brought a rapid influx of people to the territory, and Alaska, rich in natural resources, has contributed to American prosperity ever since.

    Sitka, c.1830. Separated from the far eastern edge of the Russian empire by only the narrow Bering Strait, the Russians had been the first Europeans to significantly explore and develop Alaska

    European settlement had begun in Alaska began during the early 19th century when the czarist state-sponsored Russian-American Company established the settlement of Sitka and began a lucrative fur trade with the natives.

    Flag of the Russian-American Company. First Flag to fly over Alaska.

    However, Russian settlement in Alaska remained small, never exceeding more than a few hundred people. By the 1860s, the Russian-American Company had become unprofitable. Faced with having to heavily subsidize the company if an active Russian presence in the territory was to be maintained, the tsar and his ministers chose instead to get out of Alaska sell to land-hungry Americans.

    Russian North American settlements

    Within a few decades, Alaska would prove to be an amazing treasure trove of natural resources from gold to oil, proving Seward's wisdom and exposing the shortsightedness of those who had once poked fun at the purchase.

    Russian-Orthodox Cathedral in modern Sitka.

    She became our 49th state in 1959.

    Alaska's is the only flag designed by a little kid. The flag design was submitted in a contest held by the territorial government. This entry was the winner. Prepared by a 13 year old native boy.

    "Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever they can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser; in fees, expenses and waste of time." -- Abraham Lincoln, (1809-1865) Lawyer and President who saved the United States.

    "Without opportunities on the part of the poor to obtain expert legal advice, it is idle to talk of equality before the law"-- Justice Chas. Evans Hughes

  2. #2 Elite Member Tailwind's Avatar
    locus delicti

    Re: Good Morning...Seward's icebox

    Cool flag, too.
    " A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
    Thomas Jefferson

    Olevet Posse Member

  3. #3
    Emma's Daddy! SoonerStormchaser's Avatar

    Re: Good Morning...Seward's icebox

    Purtiest state in the entire haven't LIVED til you've been to Alaska!

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