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President Eisenhower and the Alaska Purchase
On Jan. 3, 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Alaska to the Union as the 49th state.
President Eisenhower stated his support for the idea of statehood for Alaska early in his administration but also expressed concerns that needed to be overcome before that could occur. The greatest concern was the issue of national security; this was during the height of the Cold War and Alaska was on the border of the Soviet Union. Another concern was the amount of public land in the territory; 99% of the area was owned by the federal government and a suitable compromise had to be arranged to transfer unreserved lands to the new state government.
After the annual introduction of various statehood bills, H.R. 7999 passed in the House on May 28, 1958, passed in the Senate on June 30, 1958, and was signed into law by the President on July 7, 1958. On January 3, 1959, he signed the official proclamation admitting Alaska as the 49th state.
Image originally from Archives.gov