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 agree 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.
Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury; Record Group 217; National Archives.
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