Mistakes happen. Hindsight, as we are all often reminded by those who have made a blunder or two, is 20/20. Take a look back to 1867 when the United States sealed the deal with Russia on the purchase of Alaska for roughly two cents an acre. It was viewed as a major mistake by the U.S. Congress, with some members sarcastically referring to Alaska as then-president Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden.”
Russia’s Emperor Alexander II had been trying for years to tempt the United States with the purchase of Alaska’s 375 million acres, in part to pay off some hefty debt his country had accumulated as a result of the Crimean War. Although economist David Barker infamously made the argument the deal was a bust for the United States, others counter that with the millions of barrels of oil that Alaska has provided over the decades America definitely came out on top.
Story by Jay Moon