Alaska State Government & Politics (Alaska Historical by Gerald McBeath

By Gerald McBeath

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Possession In 1867, William H. Seward, who by then had become Secretary of State, negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia. 2 million price tag; and, last but not least, American friendship for Russia. The new possession was the nation's first noncontiguous territory. 2 million purchase money. Page 7 The Army Takes Over Seward arranged for the War Department to occupy Alaska until Congress provided a civil government. In the meantime, Alaska was designated a district and not a territory. The difference between the two was that a territory had a representative assembly whereas a district did not.

Czar Paul I organized the harvesting of American fur resources in 1799, when he ended the competition among the various small companies and granted a monopoly to a group of merchants who combined to form the Russian-American Company. The formation of the Russian-American Company halved the population, dropping it to no more than 225 Russians, including fewer than 200 promyshlenniks. The decrease occurred because many small entrepreneurs left Alaska after the monopoly was granted. Alexander Baranov was chosen to manage the new Russian-American Company, and he dominated the period from 1799 to 1818, which roughly coincided with the first charter of the Russian-American Company.

He recently edited a symposium on energy policies for the Policy Studies Organization and has written extensively on disaster mitigation and public responses to oil and gas development. Richard Fineberg taught political science on the Fairbanks and Juneau campuses of the University of Alaska and was a free-lance reporter in Alaska for more than a decade. His many articles have appeared in various state and national publications. He is the author of Chaos in the Capital, an analysis of Page ix state spending patterns in the petroleum era.

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