The Alaska Debate
Controversy over Purchase

Alaska Purchase

Alaskan Mountains
     On March 30, 1867, the United States bought the territory of Alaska from Russia. Around 1866 the czar of Russia, Alexander Gorchakov was concerned about the Alaskan colony that was a financial liability. The Alaskan colony was located on the North American continent, not Asia. The stocks were tumbling for the Alaskan colony and it was going into a financial decline. Alexander had believed that the Alaskan colony was worth 4.4 million dollars and had to get rid of it as soon as possible. Since the colony was a top of the North American the Russians feared that the Americans could try to expand and take over the Alaskan colony. Since the colony was in a decline Russia decided to try to sell it to the United States to try to avoid any conflict in the future. When a Russian diplomat, De Stoeckl arrived in New York the Americans offered him an offer for the land of Alaska. William Seward and De Stoeckl met and started to negotiate a price for Alaska. Seward started the price at 5 million dollars but Russia refused. At the end Russia demanded 10 million dollars but after a few more meetings they agreed on a price of 7 million dollars. With the 7 million dollars the United States had two other obstacles. First they had to pay the money in London and then take over any obligations of companies of the Alaskan colony. Seward refused and said the United States would pay an extra 200,000 dollars to get Alaska with no obligations. Both De Stoeckl and William Seward agreed on the price of 7.2 million dollars for the Alaskan Colony. Then the Alaska treaty was signed on March 30, 1867. The senate approved the treaty on April 9, 1867, and the United States gathered the amount of money needed to purchase Alaska. On July 14, 1868 the Congress approved the purchase and territory of Alaska was now part of the United States. The territory of Alaska is 586,412 square miles. That means that every acre of Alaska was sold for only 2 cents. Today Alaska pays for itself over and over again. In 2007 the income of Alaska was $44.9 billion. If calculated, that means Alaska paid for itself about 6236 times in only one year.