Tuesday, March 29, 2011

William H. Seward Secretary of State Seward's Day

Title: [Portrait of Secretary of State William H. Seward, officer of the United States government] Creator(s): Brady National Photographic Art Gallery (Washington, D.C.), photographer. Date Created/Published: [Between 1860 and 1865]

Medium: 1 negative : glass, wet collodion. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-cwpb-04948 (digital file from original neg.) LC-B8172-1431 (b&w film neg.)

Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Call Number: LC-B813- 1431 A [P&P] Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.

* Civil War photographs, 1861-1865 / compiled by Hirst D. Milhollen and Donald H. Mugridge, Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1977. No. 0874
* Title from Milhollen and Mugridge.
* Forms part of Selected Civil War photographs, 1861-1865 (Library of Congress)

* United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
* Seward, William H.

* Portrait photographs.
* Wet collodion negatives.

* Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints

Part of: Selected Civil War photographs, 1861-1865 (Library of Congress)

On the evening of March 29,1867, the Russian Minister called at Seward's house and informed him of the receipt of a cablegram reporting the Emperor's consent to the proposition, and then he added that he would be ready to take up the final work the next day, for haste was desirable. With a smile of satisfaction at the news, Seward pushed aside the table where he had been enjoying his usual evening game of whist, and said: "Why wait till tomorrow, Mr. Stoeckl? Let us make the treaty to-night." The needed clerks were summoned; the Assistant Secretary went after Sumner, the chairman of the Senate committee on foreign affairs; the Russian Minister • sent for his assistants; and at midnight all met at the Department of State. By four o'clock in the morning the task was completed.

William H. SewardSeward's most famous achievement as Secretary of State was his acquisition of Alaska from Russia. On March 30, 1867, he completed negotiations for the purchase of 586,412 square miles of territory for $7,200,000, or approximately 2 cents per acre.

The purchase of the land was mocked by the public as Seward's Folly, "Seward's Icebox," and Andrew Johnson's "polar bear garden." Alaska celebrates the purchase on Seward's Day, the last Monday of March.

When asked what he considered to be his greatest achievement as Secretary of State, Seward replied "The purchase of Alaska, but it will take the people a generation to find it out"


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