French Translation of the Tsar's Ratification of the Alaska Purchase Treaty


The Russian tsar, Alexander II, affixed his signature at the end of this copy of the Alaska purchase treaty following a short commentary on his ratification in Russian. This copy includes a lengthy listing of the tsar’s historical titles in Russian on the first page, which is absent in the American version. Since both of these portions of the ratified text in the tsar’s copy were written in Russian, they subsequently were translated into French. The diplomatic language of the Russian imperial court was French, so this constituted standard practice. Following consent by the U.S. Senate, President Andrew Johnson signed an equivalent ratification on June 20, 1867. The subsequent Certificate of Exchange noted minor textual changes in the English and French versions of the treaty. The U.S. House of Representatives failed to appropriate funds for the Alaska Purchase for more than a year, on account of internal American political opposition and the impeachment proceedings against President Andrew Johnson. Alaska became United States territory on October 18, 1867. The U.S. government finally issued a treasury warrant to Russia for payment for Alaska on August 1, 1868.

Last updated: November 20, 2015