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ALASKA BECOMES A STATE


ALASKA BECOMES A STATE
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   11.18

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    expedition, delegate, occupation, production, maintain, consideration, refused, strategy, immediately, status, based, mining, nineteenth, military, legislature, effective
     content words:    Vitus Bering, Crimean War, State William H., Jefferson C., Treasury Department, Navy Department, Organic Act, Klondike Gold Rush, Road Commissioners, Second Organic Act


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ALASKA BECOMES A STATE
By Sheri Skelton
  

1     On his second expedition in 1741, Vitus Bering sighted Alaska and claimed the land for Russia. During the next century, the Russians established settlements and focused on developing a lucrative fur trade in the new land.
 
2     By the middle of the nineteenth century, Russian interest in Alaska was declining. The fur trade had deteriorated, and the Crimean War fought with England had drained Russia's finances. Russia was ready to relinquish its claim to Alaska.
 
3     When Secretary of State William H. Seward signed the agreement on March 30, 1867, to buy Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million, many Americans called the purchase "Seward's Folly" or "Seward's Icebox." Seward dreamed that Alaska would first have territorial status and eventually would become a state or even several states.
 
4     Seward's expectations for Alaska were not immediately realized, and Alaska fell into The Period of Neglect until 1884. Congress first established a military district to enforce laws and appointed Jefferson C. Davis to head military occupation. Later the Treasury Department and the Navy Department assumed control. No steps were taken to create a civil government, and for the most part, little attention was paid to Alaska.

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