Original of Treaty with Russia for Cession of Alaska


The original treaty for the purchase of Alaska by the United States, written in parallel columns in English and French, is presented here with the signatures of the U.S. secretary of state William H. Seward and the Russian minister to the United States, Eduard de Stoeckl. The diplomatic language of the Russian imperial court was French, so there was no official Russian version of the treaty. Following consent by the U.S. Senate, President Andrew Johnson affixed his signature to the end of this copy of the treaty on June 20, 1867. The Russian tsar, Alexander II, signed an equivalent ratification. 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