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The United States/ bought that land in eighteen sixty-seven, during the administration of President Andrew Johnson. When Russia/ offered it/ for sale, Secretary of State William Seward/ quickly prepared a treaty of purchase.

The United States/ paid about seven million dollars/ for the land. It was decided/ to call the area Alaska, after the Aleut Indian name/ for part of the area, Alakshak.

Many Americans/ at the time/ criticized the purchase. They said/ seven million dollars/ was too much to pay/ for what they thought was a worthless piece of frozen land. They said/ the deal/ was foolish. They called it/ “Seward’s Folly”.

Those critics/ were proved wrong. Americans/ found work/ in Alaska’s salmon fishing industry/ and its gold and copper mines. In later years, Alaska’s oil, natural gas, trees, fish and animal skins/ made the area/ extremely valuable. Today, history experts/ consider the sale/ to be one of the greatest deals/ any country ever made/ for territory.

Why did Secretary Seward/ buy Alaska? He had wanted to buy the area/ for a long time. American traders and business leaders knew/ that the area/ was rich/ with minerals and animals. They said/ owning Alaska/ would improve business/ in the Pacific coast states. Political leaders said/ the purchase/ would be good/ for the United States/ because it would end all Russian presence/ in North America. And they said/ it would help guarantee friendly relations/ with Russia.

The people of Alaska/ first asked to be part of the United States/ in nineteen sixteen. That request/ was rejected. They asked again/ in the nineteen fifties. In nineteen fifty-eight, Congress/ approved the Alaskan statehood act. Alaskans/ became American citizens/ after they voted to accept the measure. The date/ was January third, nineteen fifty-nine.

Alaska/ is the largest of all the states/ in territory. It is above northwest Canada. Alaska and Hawaii/ are the only states/ that do not share borders/ with any other states.
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