Manual The Fires of Patriotism: Alaskans in the Days of the First World War 1910-1920

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Economist David R.

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Barker has argued that the U. According to Barker, tax revenue and mineral and energy royalties to the federal government have been less than federal costs of governing Alaska plus interest on the borrowed funds used for the purchase. John M. Miller has taken the argument further, contending that U. Other economists and scholars, including Scott Goldsmith and Terrence Cole, have criticized the metrics used to reach those conclusions, noting that most continental Western states would fail to meet the bar of "positive financial return" using the same criteria and contending that looking at the increase in net national income, instead of simply U.

Treasury revenue, paints a much more accurate picture of the financial return of Alaska as an investment. The date is by the Gregorian calendar , which came into effect in Alaska the following day to replace the Julian calendar used by the Russians the Julian calendar in the 19th century was 12 days behind the Gregorian calendar. Alaska Day is a holiday for all state workers. Alaska Purchase The 7. The first page of Tsar Alexander II 's ratification of the treaty. This page just contains the Tsar's full style. Wikimedia Commons has a file available for full text of ratification.

The signing of the Alaska Treaty of Cessation on March 30, L—R: Robert S. Chew, William H. Seward, William Hunter , Mr. Main article: Alaska Day. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved 21 October Kushner, "'Seward's Folly'? Office of the Historian, U. Department of State.

History of Alaska

Retrieved December 4, Archived from the original on Slotnick 15 March Alaska: A History of the 49th State. University of Oklahoma Press. The American Historical Review 48, No. Pacific Historical Review 59, No. Russian portal. The Pacific Northwest Quarterly. Harp Week. Archived from the original on 1 January Retrieved 31 August Volume: 3, , p. Library of Congress. Archived from the original on 30 August Retrieved 30 August Northern Review.

Welch, Jr. Harper's New Monthly Magazine. XLIV : New International Encyclopedia 1st ed. New York: Dodd, Mead. The New York Times. Retrieved 27 April Caseman Publishing. Retrieved 24 September Alaska Purchase. History of Alaska. Territorial expansion of the United States. Concept: Manifest destiny. Department of Alaska — Territory of Alaska — We had not spent many weeks at Sitka when two large steam ships arrived there, bringing things that belonged to the American crown, and a few days later the new governor also arrived in a ship together with his soldiers.

The wooden two-story mansion of the Russian governor stood on a high hill, and in front of it in the yard at the end of a tall spar flew the Russian flag with the double-headed eagle in the middle of it. Of course, this flag now had to give way to the flag of the United States, which is full of stripes and stars. On a predetermined day in the afternoon a group of soldiers came from the American ships, led by one who carried the flag.

Marching solemnly, but without accompaniment, they came to the governor's mansion, where the Russian troops were already lined up and waiting for the Americans. Now they started to pull the [Russian double-headed] eagle down, but — whatever had gone into its head — it only came down a little bit, and then entangled its claws around the spar so that it could not be pulled down any further. A Russian soldier was therefore ordered to climb up the spar and disentangle it, but it seems that the eagle cast a spell on his hands, too — for he was not able to arrive at where the flag was, but instead slipped down without it.

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The next one to try was not able to do any better; only the third soldier was able to bring the unwilling eagle down to the ground. While the flag was brought down, music was played and cannons were fired off from the shore; and then while the other flag was hoisted the Americans fired off their cannons from the ships equally many times.

After that American soldiers replaced the Russian ones at the gates of the fence surrounding the Kolosh [i. Although the mid—19th century were not a good time for Russians in Alaska, conditions improved for the coastal Alaska Natives who had survived contact. The Tlingits were never conquered and continued to wage war on the Russians into the s. The Aleuts, though faced with a decreasing population in the s, ultimately rebounded. Financial difficulties in Russia, the desire to keep Alaska out of British hands, and the low profits of trade with Alaskan settlements all contributed to Russia's willingness to sell its possessions in North America.

At the instigation of U. This purchase was popularly known in the U. Later discovery of gold and oil would show it to be a worthwhile one.


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Scholars debate whether the purchase of Alaska was a financially profitable for the federal Treasury itself, apart from its benefits to Alaskans and to businesses, and to national defense. The United States flag was raised on October 18, , now called Alaska Day , and the region changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.

Therefore, for residents, Friday, October 6, was followed by Friday, October 18, —two Fridays in a row because of the 12 day shift in the calendar minus one day for the date-line shift. During the Department era, from to , Alaska was variously under the jurisdiction of the U. Navy from to The Collector was the highest-ranking official of the United States government in Alaska and de facto Governor. Ball , a former Confederate Army officer, were the first individuals to serve as Collector of Customs.

When Alaska was first purchased, most of its land remained unexplored. In , Western Union laid a telegraph line across Alaska to the Bering Strait where it would connect, under water, with an Asian line. It also conducted the first scientific studies of the region and produced the first map of the entire Yukon River.

The Alaska Commercial Company and the military also contributed to the growing exploration of Alaska in the last decades of the 19th century, building trading posts along the Interior's many rivers. In , the region was organized and the name was changed from the Department of Alaska to the District of Alaska. At the time, legislators in Washington, D. In , the discovery of gold in Yukon Territory in neighboring Canada, brought many thousands of miners and new settlers to Alaska, and very quickly ended the nation's four year economic depression.

Although it was uncertain whether gold would also be found in Alaska, Alaska greatly profited because it was along the easiest transportation route to the Yukon goldfields. Numerous new cities, such as Skagway, Alaska , owe their existence to a gold rush in Canada. No history of Alaska would be complete without mention of Soapy Smith , the crime boss confidence man who operated the largest criminal empire in gold rush era Alaska, until he was shot down by vigilantes in the famed Shootout on Juneau Wharf.

Today, he is known as "Alaska's Outlaw. In , gold was found in Alaska itself in Nome , and several towns subsequently began to be built, such as Fairbanks and Ruby. In , the Alaska Railroad began to be built, which would connect from Seward to Fairbanks by , though Alaska still does not have a railroad connecting it to the lower 48 states today.

Still, an overland route was built, cutting transportation times to the contiguous states by days. The industries of copper mining , fishing , and canning began to become popular in the early 20th century, with 10 canneries in some major towns. In , a boundary dispute with Canada was finally resolved. By the turn of the 20th century, commercial fishing was gaining a foothold in the Aleutian Islands.

Packing houses salted cod and herring , and salmon canneries were opened. Another commercial occupation, whaling, continued with no regard for over-hunting. They pushed the bowhead whales to the edge of extinction for the oil in their tissue. The Aleuts soon suffered severe problems due to the depletion of fur seals and sea otters which they needed for survival. As well as requiring the flesh for food, they also used the skins to cover their boats, without which they could not hunt.

The Americans also expanded into the Interior and Arctic Alaska, exploiting the furbearers, fish, and other game on which Natives depended. James Wickersham , a Delegate to Congress, introduced Alaska's first statehood bill, but it failed due to the small population and lack of interest from Alaskans. Even President Warren G. Harding 's visit in could not create widespread interest in statehood.

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Under the conditions of the Second Organic Act, Alaska had been split into four divisions. The most populous of the divisions, whose capital was Juneau, wondered if it could become a separate state from the other three. Government control was a primary concern, with the territory having 52 federal agencies governing it. Then, in , the Jones Act required U. All goods entering or leaving Alaska had to be transported by American carriers and shipped to Seattle prior to further shipment, making Alaska dependent on Washington. Supreme Court ruled that the provision of the Constitution saying one state should not hold sway over another's commerce did not apply because Alaska was only a territory.

The prices Seattle shipping businesses charged began to rise to take advantage of the situation. This situation created an atmosphere of enmity among Alaskans who watched the wealth being generated by their labors flowing into the hands of Seattle business holdings. On July 15 Harding drove in a golden railroad spike at Nenana.

The train car in which he rode now sits in Fairbanks' Pioneer Park. The Depression caused prices of fish and copper, which were vital to Alaska's economy at the time, to decline. Wages were dropped and the workforce decreased by more than half. In , President Franklin D. Roosevelt thought Americans from agricultural areas could be transferred to Alaska's Matanuska-Susitna Valley for a fresh chance at agricultural self-sustainment.

Colonists were largely from northern states, such as Michigan , Wisconsin , and Minnesota under the belief that only those who grew up with climates similar to that of Alaska's could handle settler life there. The United Congo Improvement Association asked the president to settle African-American farmers in Alaska, saying that the territory would offer full political rights, but racial prejudice and the belief that only those from northern states would make suitable colonists caused the proposal to fail.

The exploration and settlement of Alaska would not have been possible without the development of the aircraft, which allowed for the influx of settlers into the state's interior, and rapid transportation of people and supplies throughout. However, due to the unfavorable weather conditions of the state, and high ratio of pilots-to-population, over aircraft wreck sites are scattered throughout its domain.

Numerous wrecks also trace their origins to the military build-up of the state during both World War II and the Cold War. They were the only parts of the continental United States to be invaded and occupied by an enemy nation during the war. Their recovery became a matter of national pride. The villagers were taken to Japan, where they were interned for the remainder of the war. Many suffered during their two years internment there, and the federal government, charged with their care, provided inadequate health care, food, and shelter.

Attu was regained in May after two weeks of intense fighting and 3, American casualties: [14] killed, injured and severe cold injuries, to disease and dead of miscellaneous causes, [15] The U. From June through August, a multitude of bombs were dropped on the tiny island, though the Japanese ultimately escaped via transport ships.


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  • After the war, the Native Attuans who had survived their internment were resettled to Atka by the federal government , which considered their home villages too remote to defend. In , the Alaska—Canada Military Highway was completed, in part to form an overland supply route to the Soviet Union on the other side of the Bering Strait. The construction of military bases , such as the Adak base, contributed to the population growth of some Alaskan cities.

    Anchorage almost doubled in size, from 4, people in to 8, in By the turn of the 20th century, a movement pushing for Alaska statehood began, but in the contiguous 48 states, legislators were worried that Alaska's population was too sparse, distant, and isolated, and its economy was too unstable for it to be a worthwhile addition to the United States.

    President Dwight D. Juneau, the territorial capital , continued as state capital, and William A. Egan was sworn in as the first governor. Alaska does not have counties , unlike every other American state except Louisiana. Louisiana has parishes. Instead, it is divided into 16 boroughs and one " unorganized borough " made up of all land not within any borough.

    Boroughs have organized area-wide governments, but within the unorganized borough, where there is no such government, services are provided by the state. The unorganized borough is divided into artificially-created census areas by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes only.

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    On March 27, the Good Friday earthquake struck South-central Alaska, churning the earth for four minutes with a magnitude of 9. The earthquake was one of the most powerful ever recorded and killed people. Throughout the Prince William Sound region, towns and ports were destroyed and land was uplifted or shoved downward. The uplift destroyed salmon streams, as the fish could no longer jump the various newly created barriers to reach their spawning grounds. Ports at Valdez and Cordova were beyond repair, and the fires destroyed what the mudslides had not.

    At Valdez, an Alaska Steamship Company ship was lifted by a huge wave over the docks and out to sea, but most hands survived. At Turnagain Arm, off Cook Inlet , the incoming water destroyed trees and caused cabins to sink into the mud. On Kodiak, a tsunami wiped out the villages of Afognak , Old Harbor, and Kaguyak and damaged other communities, while Seward lost its harbor. Despite the extent of the catastrophe, Alaskans rebuilt many of the communities. As one of the events leading up to the celebration, the Alaska Centennial Commission sponsored a contest in to come up with a centennial motto and emblem that would express the unique character of the State of Alaska.

    In December , the commission announced that they had selected Juneau journalist Richard Peter's suggestion. He stated that the motto " The discovery of oil on the North Slope 's Prudhoe Bay —which would turn out to have the most recoverable oil of any field in the United States—would change Alaska's political landscape for decades. This discovery catapulted the issue of Native land ownership into the headlines.

    Alaskans in the Days of the First World War 1910-1920

    The government finally took action when permitting for a pipeline crossing the state, necessary to get Alaskan oil to market, was stalled pending the settlement of Native land claims. Between the North Slope and Valdez, there were active fault lines, three mountain ranges, miles of unstable, boggy ground underlain with frost, and migration paths of caribou and moose. The pipeline allowed an oil bonanza to take shape. Per capita incomes rose throughout the state, with virtually every community benefiting. State leaders were determined that this boom would not end like the fur and gold booms, in an economic bust as soon as the resource had disappeared.

    In , the state's constitution was amended to establish the Alaska Permanent Fund , in which a quarter of all mineral lease proceeds is invested. Income from the fund is used to pay annual dividends to all residents who qualify, to increase the fund's principal as a hedge against inflation, and to provide funds for the state legislature.

    Oil production was not the only economic value of Alaska's land, however. In the second half of the 20th century, Alaska discovered tourism as an important source of revenue. Tourism became popular after World War II, when military personnel stationed in the region returned home praising its natural splendor. The Alcan Highway , built during the war, and the Alaska Marine Highway System , completed in , made the state more accessible than before. Tourism became increasingly important in Alaska, and today over 1. With tourism more vital to the economy, environmentalism also rose in importance.

    Because of the Act, Alaska now contains two-thirds of all American national parklands. Today, more than half of Alaskan land is owned by the Federal Government. The possible environmental repercussions of oil production became clear in the Exxon Valdez oil spill of Fish and Wildlife Service , at least , sea birds, 2, otters, and other marine animals died because of the spill. Exxon, working with state and federal agencies, continued its cleanup into the early s. Government studies show that the oil and the cleaning process itself did long-term harm to the ecology of the Sound, interfering with the reproduction of birds and animals in ways that still aren't fully understood.

    Prince William Sound seems to have recuperated, but scientists still dispute the extent of the recovery.