The Purchase of Alaska

Education Updates

For today’s spotlight document we take a look at the treasury warrant used for the purchase of the 49th state.  On August 1, 1868, this check was issued at the Sub-Treasury Building on New York’s Wall Street.  It noted the transfer of $7,200,000.00 to the Russian Minister to the United States, Edouard de Stoeckl, who had negotiated the Alaska Purchase for the Russians.

Treasury Warrant in the Amount of $7.2 Million for the Purchase of Alaska, 8/1/1868. From the Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury. National Archives Identifier: 301667

The Russian government had contacted the United States in 1866 to offer the Alaskan territories for sale.  A year later, Secretary of State William H. Seward eagerly negotiated and purchased the land for American expansion.  The agreed upon deal was that the United States would pay $7.2 million for Alaska—which for nearly 600,000 square miles…

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