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Two great deals for our country

I think everyone likes a great deal now and then. I like to find good quality, low priced items that I can use. But, I don’t believe a bargain for bargain’s sake is good policy. Someone once said, “A bargain isn’t a bargain if you don’t need the item you’re buying at a bargain.” That’s generally true unless you see a future need.
One definition of “bargain” is “an advantageous purchase.” In this column I want briefly to examine what I consider two of the greatest bargains of all time. Both of these bargains are connected to the expansion of our United States of America.
The Louisiana Purchase was a great deal for the United States. President Thomas Jefferson in his first term signed the treaty selling the territory to the United States on April 30, 1803. With the purchase the U. S. doubled its size. The more than 827,000 square miles of land was bounded by the Mississippi River in the east and extended to the Rocky Mountains in the west. The price was about $15,000,000 and that translates to a little more than $18 per square mile. It was a tremendous deal. The U. S. then had shipping access to the Mississippi River and also the land had great potential with rich soil and a large amount of natural resources. President Jefferson’s first intent was to buy New Orleans because of its strategic location at the mouth of the Mississippi River. He was pleasantly surprised when the entire French land was offered and he took advantage of it. Present states which were land included in the purchase were: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.
Another great deal for the U. S. was the purchase of Alaska. On March 30, 1867, President Andrew Johnson’s Secretary of State William H. Seward signed a treaty of cession with Russia to purchase Alaska. The Senate ratified the treaty and Alaska was formerly transferred to the United States on October 18, 1867. What a deal! Though many folks didn’t think so. Many thought it was a mistake and it was often called “Seward’s folly.”
President Andrew Johnson had showed a great deal of bravery during the Civil War by keeping his seat in the Senate while many from southern states resigned. President Lincoln appointed him Military Governor and his office was in Nashville during the Union’s occupation of that city. His life was in constant danger but he showed bravery and resolve. His bravery was one of the reasons Lincoln picked him for his running mate in his second term. His home was in Greeneville, Tennessee, just a few miles down the road from Johnson County. I think we should be proud of him and his presidency. He was often unduly criticized. But, after his time as president he later returned to the Senate.
The purchase of Alaska turned out to be a very wise move. It was rich in gold and petroleum. Who knew then that it would become a very valuable addition to the United States? The area of Alaska is 586,412 square miles. It cost $7,200,000. The cost per square miles was a little more than $12.
While folks might not have realized it at the time, those two purchases were wise indeed. It showed the forward thinking of President Jefferson and President Johnson. Looking back on history, I’m glad those deals were made. I think you will agree that those were real bargains.