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“Frozen Asset” Or Forty-ninth State?

April 2021
1min read

(Congress debates acquiring Alaska, 1867)

REPRESENTATIVE CADWALLADER C. WASHBURN (on whether to make an appropriation)

“All the evidence we have in regard to the country goes to show its inhospitable and worthless character.… [It] will always be a source of weakness.… It is proposed to pay $7,200,000 for a country where none but malefactors will ever live, and where we are likely to be at constant war with the savages.”

SENATOR CHARLES SUMNER (advocating ratification of the treaty)

“Small beginnings, therefore, are no discouragement; I turn with confidence to the future.… A practical race of intrepid navigators will swarm the coast, ready for any enterprise.… Commerce will find new arms, the country new defenders, the national flag new hands to bear it aloft.”

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