Seward's Folly

William_Henry_SewardAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

Seward’s Folly is what Alaska was called as it was thought to be of no value.

After losing Crimea to the British in 1856, Russia wanted to prevent Alaska from being claimed as part of British Columbia.

Russia sold the 586,412 square miles to the United States in 1867 for $7.2 million – about two cents per acre.

It was the second largest land purchase in history – the largest being the Louisiana Purchase of 828,000 square miles in 1803.

Only when it was discovered to be rich in natural resources was appreciation shown to Secretary of State William Seward.

William Henry Seward, who was born MAY 16, 1801, had been Governor of the State of New York, 1839-43; a U.S. Senator 1849-61; and Secretary of State under President Lincoln during the War between the States, 1861-65.

The same night Lincoln was shot, an accomplice of John Wilkes Booth broke into Seward’s home and wounded him in an attempted assassination.

Seward later served as Secretary of State under President Andrew Johnson, 1865-69, working to implement the “reconstruction” in the South.

William Henry Seward stated:

“I do not believe human society, including not merely a few persons in any state, but whole masses of men, ever have attained, or ever can attain, a high state of intelligence, virtue, security, liberty, or happiness without the Holy Scriptures; even the whole hope of human progress is suspended on the ever-growing influence of the Bible.”

In 1836, as the vice-president of the American Bible Society, William Seward stated:

“I know not how long a republican government can flourish among a great people who have not the Bible; the experiment has never been tried; but this I do know: that the existing government of this country never could have had existence but for the Bible.

And, further, I do, in my conscience, believe that if at every decade of years a copy of the Bible could be found in every family in the land its republican institutions would be perpetuated.”

William Henry Seward gave an oration titled, The Destiny of America, in which he stated:

“Shall we look to the sacred desk? Yes, indeed; for it is of Divine institution, and is approved by human experience.

The ministers of Christ, inculcating Divine morals, under Divine authority, with Divine sanction, and sustained and aided by special cooperating influences of the Divine Spirit, are now carrying further and broadly onward the great work of the renewal of the civilization of the world, and its emancipation from superstition and despotism.”


Bill FedererSelf-Educated American contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.


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