Pros and cons of Alaska purchase

The purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 was a controversial decision made by the United States government that still draws debate today. This purchase of a massive 586,412 square miles of land increased the territory of the United States by more than 20% and was initially met with ridicule and criticism. However, as time passed, the benefits of the purchase began to come to fruition. In this article, we’ll examine the pros and cons of Alaska’s purchase and the impact it had on the United States.


1. Access to natural resources – Alaska is a haven for natural resources. The state is rich in oil, natural gas, timber, and minerals such as gold, zinc, and copper. The acquisition of this vast land of bountiful resources offered a much-needed boost to the US economy.

2. Strategic location – With its location near Russia and the Arctic, Alaska provides a strategic location for both military and commercial purposes. The purchase gave the United States greater control over the North Pacific and reinforced its presence in the Arctic region.

3. Expansion of territory – The purchase of Alaska expanded the territory of the United States, leading to the closure of the North American continent. The country’s western expansion also played a vital role in opening up new markets and economic opportunities.

4. Boost to fisheries – Alaska is home to some of the world’s most lucrative fisheries. The acquisition of Alaska allowed the U.S. to control and regulate the abundant fishing stocks, increasing revenue and providing food security for the country.


1. Negative public opinion – At the time of the purchase, the public’s opinion of the acquisition was extremely negative. Many viewed it as a barren and worthless territory that was a drain on the nation’s finances.

2. High purchase price – The purchase of Alaska was expensive, costing the United States $7.2 million at the time. The large sum of money caused further hostility and ridicule from critics of the deal.

3. Strained relations with Russia – The purchase of Alaska strained relations between the United States and Russia. Political tensions arose between the countries, with Russia feeling slighted by the sale of land that they felt was rightfully theirs.

4. Long-term financial burden – For many years, Alaska was a financial burden on the United States due to its lack of infrastructure and harsh climate. The territory was seen as a liability rather than an asset.

In conclusion, while the purchase of Alaska initially generated negative public opinion, it eventually proved to be beneficial for the United States. The vast natural resources, strategic location, and expansion of territory provided the country with economic, military, and political benefits. On the other hand, the high purchase price, strained relations with Russia, and long-term financial burden caused significant challenges. Nonetheless, today, Alaska is valued as a crucial part of the United States’ territory, and it remains an essential part of its national identity and heritage.

What were the key reasons for the United States’ decision to purchase Alaska, and what were some of the benefits that resulted from the acquisition?

The purchase of Alaska by the United States was a significant event in the country’s history, and it came after years of negotiations between the United States and Russia. One of the key reasons was to strengthen the United States’ position as a global power, as the acquisition of such a vast territory added to the nation’s landmass and resources. It also provided the United States with a strategic foothold in the Arctic region and gave it access to a wealth of natural resources such as gold, timber, and fish.

The benefits resulting from the acquisition of Alaska were numerous. The territory became a crucial source of raw materials such as furs, salmon, and gold, which helped bolster economic growth in the United States. Alaska also provided a strategic military advantage, as it served as a buffer zone between Russia and the United States, and its northern location gave the country valuable access to potential shipping and trade routes through the Arctic. Additionally, the purchase of Alaska also paved the way for further expansion of the United States, which would eventually lead to the nation becoming a global superpower.

How did the purchase of Alaska affect relations between the United States, Russia, and other European powers at the time?

The purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 was a significant event in American history and had worldwide implications. The acquisition of Alaska marked the expansion of American territory and was a strategic move to secure American interests in the Pacific. The purchase did not come without controversy and political backlash. Critics of the deal claimed that it was a waste of money and that the land was worthless, while others believed that it would cause tension between the United States and Russia.

The purchase of Alaska had a profound effect on relations between the United States, Russia, and other European powers. At the time, the United States was still a relatively young nation, and the acquisition of Alaska marked its first serious engagement in global politics. The purchase made the United States a significant player in Pacific affairs and increased its influence in international trade and diplomacy. Russia, on the other hand, was suffering from economic difficulties and saw the sale of Alaska as a way to reduce its financial burden. The sale also signaled Russia’s retreat from American interests and gave way for the United States to take a more prominent role in the region. European powers, meanwhile, viewed the purchase of Alaska with suspicion and regarded American territorial expansion as a threat to their interests. Overall, the purchase of Alaska marked a significant turning point in American diplomacy and had far-reaching effects on the relations between the United States, Russia, and other European powers.

What were some of the challenges that arose in the years following the Alaska purchase, and how did the United States address them?

The purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 brought about a number of challenges for the United States in the years that followed. First and foremost, many Americans were skeptical of the purchase, questioning the value of such a large, remote territory. Additionally, the United States was faced with issues of governance, as there was little infrastructure in Alaska and the native populations were not well integrated into American society. Finally, there were concerns about foreign interests in the region, particularly those of Canada and Great Britain.

To address these challenges, the United States government took a number of steps in the years following the Alaska purchase. The first priority was to establish a system of governance, which began with the appointment of an American military governor to oversee the territory. This was followed by the establishment of a civilian government, and eventually the creation of the Territory of Alaska in 1912. Additionally, the government made efforts to integrate native populations into American society, including establishing schools and promoting assimilation. Finally, the United States worked to assert its control over the region by establishing military bases and enforcing its sovereignty over disputed areas.

How has the value of Alaska changed since the 867 purchase, and what impact has this had on the United States’ economy and foreign policy?

The purchase of Alaska by the United States from Russia in 1867 was initially met with skepticism and ridicule, as many believed the vast, cold and mostly uninhabitable territory was nothing more than a wasteland of snow and ice. However, as time passed, the true value of Alaska began to reveal itself. Today, the state provides nearly 20% of American oil production, as well as significant reserves of natural gas, gold, and other minerals. Additionally, Alaska’s vast fisheries represent a significant contribution to the U.S. economy, as well as a vital source of food for the world.

The acquisition of Alaska has also had a profound impact on U.S. foreign policy. The purchase expanded American influence in the northern hemisphere, and gave the U.S. access to new trade routes and resources, while simultaneously counter-balancing European influence in the region. During the Cold War era, Alaska’s strategic location and military installations were key to American interests in monitoring Russian activity, and provided a vital line of defense for the U.S. homeland. Today, Alaska remains a vital part of America’s security strategy, and continues to provide a rich source of natural resources that have fueled America’s economic growth and prosperity for over a century.

In conclusion, the value of Alaska has grown and evolved significantly since its purchase in 1867. Today, Alaska is a vital part of America’s global economic and military strategy, providing resources and strategic importance that have helped to shape our nation’s foreign policy. As a result, the acquisition of Alaska is a key moment in American history, and serves as a reminder of the importance of investing in strategic assets that can provide long-term value and benefits to the United States and its people.

What lessons can be learned from the Alaska purchase in terms of the benefits and drawbacks of territorial expansion, and how can this inform current debates about US territorial acquisitions?

The Alaska Purchase of 1867 was an essential part of the territorial expansion of the United States. At the time, Alaska was seen as a desolate and inhospitable piece of land, with little economic or strategic value. However, it turned out to be a great decision, as Alaska ended up being rich in natural resources such as gold, timber, and petroleum. The purchase of Alaska is an excellent example of how territorial expansion could be beneficial to a country’s economy, security, and geostrategic position.

However, there are also drawbacks to territorial expansion. Not all acquisitions turn out to be as beneficial as the Alaska Purchase. Some territories can end up being a financial burden on the nation, creating economic problems and political tensions. Examples of this include the Philippines, which the United States acquired in 1898, but was a challenging territory to govern for many years. It is critical to thoroughly analyze the potential benefits and drawbacks before making any territorial expansion decisions.

Today, the United States is still faced with debates about territorial expansion, such as the possibility of Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. becoming new states. Evaluating the lessons learned from historical territorial acquisitions, including the pros and cons, could help the country make sound decisions for its future.