After much debate, Russian and British diplomats signed the St. Peterburg Treaty of 1825 to define the boundaries between Russia America and Great Britian's claim. From 1853 to 1856, Russian military forces fought in the Crimean War against an alliance of Great Brittain, France, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia for control of the Crimean Peninsula and access of the holy lands of the Middle East. When Russia lost the war, they were in severe debt. This led them to ask the United States if they were intrested in purchasing Alaska; in order to keep it out of the hands of the British.
To His Excellency Prince A. M. Gorchakov:
“In view of the straitened circumstances of the State finances I am now looking for ways of reducing our naval appropriation and would like very much to reduce the estimated requirement by one quarter of the total estimated sum. However, in spite of all that we can do in this direction, such a tremendous economy, decidedly harmful to the development of our naval forces, will bring a comparatively small profit to the State Treasury. Therefore, in order to get out of the difficult situation besides the considerations just mentioned it becomes necessary to turn to other more effective measures. I think we would do well to take advantage of the excess of money at the present time in the Treasury of the United States of America and to sell them our North American colonies. This transaction would be very timely, as we must not deceive ourselves and must forsee that the United States, constantly aiming to round out their possessions and desiring to dominate undividedly the whole of North America, will take the afore-mentioned colonies from us and we shall not be able to regain them.”