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On This Day: April 9, 1867

On This Day: April 9, 1867
Map of Alaska

On April 9, 1867, the Senate approved one of the great real estate bargains in history by agreeing to the Alaska purchase treaty. The Senate ratified the treaty with Russia by a vote of 37 to 2. Under the treaty's terms, the United States paid Russia $7.2 million—about two cents an acre—for a territory twice the size of Texas. Dismissing the deal as a worthless investment, newspapers mocked the arrangement as "Seward's Folly" after former senator and Secretary of State William H. Seward, who negotiated the purchase. Fortunately, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Charles Sumner convinced the Senate otherwise. Alaska became the 49th state in the Union on January 3, 1959.

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