Seward's Folly

   William Henry Seward (1801-1872) was born in Florida, Orange County, New York. He graduated from Union College in 1820, was admitted to the bar in 1822, and practiced law in Auburn, New York. After two terms as governor (1838-1842), he took the advanced antislavery position, which helped his election to the U.S. Senate. He declared that the struggle over slavery was "an irrepressible conflict."
   Seward served as secretary of state in Lincoln's administration, but it was under President Johnson's administration that he became convinced of the value of the Pacific Coast to the United States. The purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, which came about solely through Seward's determination, was decried by many and mocked as "Seward's Folly." Some even called it "Seward's Icebox." Few had the forethought to realize the bargain that was struck. The purchase of $7.2 million amounted to 2 cents an acre.
   Of course, many minds changed after gold was discovered there. And consider the $900 million bid for Alaskan oil leases in 1969.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Seward’s Folly — ➡ Seward * * * …   Universalium

  • Seward’s Folly — nickname given Alaska in 1867 when Secretary of State William H Seward purchased the area from Russia for $7,200,000; also called Seward’s Polar Bear Garden …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • Seward's Folly — noun the transaction in 1867 in which the United States Secretary of State William Henry Seward purchased Alaska from Russia • Instance Hypernyms: ↑transaction, ↑dealing, ↑dealings * * * U.S. Hist. the purchase of Alaska in 1867, through the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Seward's Folly — U.S. Hist. the purchase of Alaska in 1867, through the negotiations of Secretary of State W. H. Seward. Cf. Alaska Purchase. [so called because Alaska was regarded as worthless land] * * * …   Universalium

  • Seward — is the name of a number of people and places:PeopleFamily name* Adam Seward (born 1982), National Football League player * Albert Charles Seward (1863 1941), British botanist and geologist, winner of the 1934 Darwin Medal * Anna Seward (1747… …   Wikipedia

  • Seward, William H — ▪ United States government official born May 16, 1801, Florida, N.Y., U.S. died Oct. 10, 1872, Auburn, N.Y.  U.S. politician, an antislavery activist in the Whig and Republican parties before the American Civil War and secretary of state from… …   Universalium

  • Seward — noun United States politician who as Secretary of State in 1867 arranged for the purchase of Alaska from Russia (known at the time as Seward s Folly) (1801 1872) • Syn: ↑William Henry Seward • Instance Hypernyms: ↑politician, ↑politico, ↑pol,… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Seward,William Henry — Sew·ard (so͞oʹərd), William Henry. 1801 1872. American politician who as U.S. secretary of state (1861 1869) arranged the purchase of Alaska from Russia (1867), a transaction long known as “Seward s Folly.” * * * …   Universalium

  • Seward, William H(enry) — born May 16, 1801, Florida, N.Y., U.S. died Oct. 10, 1872, Auburn, N.Y. U.S. politician. He served in the New York state senate (1830–34) and as governor (1839–43). In the U.S. Senate (1849–61), he was an antislavery leader in the Whig and… …   Universalium

  • Seward — Sew|ard, William Henry (1801 72) a US politician in the ↑Republican Party who was ↑Secretary of State from 1861 to 1869. He helped to arrange the deal in which the US bought Alaska from Russia in 1867. At the time, many people thought Alaska was… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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