The Alaska Purchase: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Photo Credit: Travel Alaska, Native girl with puppies

Years ago Alaska “belonged” to Russia then the United States “bought” it from Russia for $7.2 million on this day, March 30, in 1867. Initially the purchase wasn’t received well. Critics of President Andrew Johnson’s Secretary of State William H. Seward called the largely unexplored territory “Seward’s folly,” “Seward’s icebox,” and Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden”. My favorite is the polar bear garden one!

I guess the joke was on them because there was gold in them thar hills and oil and plenty of pipelineable land! Those are all good things, way better than nature and indigenous peoples.

Now Alaska’s former governor Sarah Palin, who didn’t even finish her term as governor, is looking to exploit Alaska some more with a nature based reality show there. Have we gone from Seward’s folly to Sarah’s folly or is the joke on us?

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