“Fifty-four forty or fight” was a campaign cry in 1844, a slogan discarded after the presidential election of that year. With the acquisition of Alaska, however, in 1867, the historic latitude was attained for it is the southern boundary of that territory. The treaty between Russia and the United States was signed by Stoeckl and Seward, respective representatives of their governments, March 30, 1867, and ratified by the Senate on April 9, with only two dissenting votes. In advocacy of the treaty Senator Sumner of Massachusetts made a long speech which embraced the known facts about Russian America, as it was then called, with a condensed review of its history, a summary of its merits, and an optimistic view of its future.
The Contribution of the Coast Guard to the Development of Alaska
By Commodore Byron L. Reed, U. S. Coast Guard (Retired)