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Treasury Warrant in the Amount of $7.2 Million for the Purchase of Alaska

Treasury Warrant in the Amount of $7.2 Million for the Purchase of Alaska

8/1/1868
Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury

In 1866 the Russian government offered to sell the territory of Alaska to the United States. Secretary of State William H. Seward, enthusiastic about the prospect of American expansion, negotiated the deal for the Americans. Eduard de Stoekl, Russian Minister to the United States, negotiated for the Russians. On March 30, 1867, the two parties agrees that the United States would pay Russia $7.2 million for the territory of Alaska. For less than 2 cents an acre, the United States acquired nearly 600,000 square miles. Opponents of the Alaska Purchase persisted in calling it “Seward’s Folly” or “Seward’s Icebox” until 1896, when the great Klondike Gold Rush convinced even the harshest critics that Alaska was a valuable addition to the United States.

Find further background information and a transcript of the English text of the Treaty of Cession on the list of 100 Milestone Documents of American history on www.ourdocuments.gov.

Additional Details from our Exhibits and Publications:

Buying Alaska

With this check, the United States completed the purchase of almost 600,000 square miles of land that would become our 49th state. This Treasury Warrant, issued on August 1, 1868 at the Sub-Treasury Building at 26 Wall Street, New York, New York, transferred $7,200,000.00 to the Russian Minister to the United States, Edouard de Stoeckl. The purchase price of the 49th state — two cents an acre.

Text adapted from “Teaching with Documents : OurDocuments.gov” in the November/December 2002 National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) publication Social Education.

Document contains: 2 pages.

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