Alaska State Government & Politics (Alaska Historical by Gerald McBeath

By Gerald McBeath

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In 1639, sixty years after they crossed the Ural Mountains, Russian Cossacks and promyshlenniks, or fur hunters, reached the Pacific. The first Russian approach to Alaska came in 1725, after Czar Peter the Great appointed Vitus Bering (a Dane holding the rank of captain in the Russian Navy) to lead the First Kamchatka Expedition. That expedition was to determine whether Asia and America were connected by land. Peter the Great died on January 28, 1725, but a part of Bering's expedition had already departed, led by Lieutenant Aleksei Chirikov.

Harrison 289 13 Courts in Alaska Andrea R. C. Helms 319 Conclusion Gerald A. McBeath and Thomas A. Morehouse 335 Glossary 341 Index 353 Page vii PREFACE Alaska state government and politics include much that is fascinating: a volatile legislature, dramatic statewide elections, large numbers of independent voters, strong interest groups, and much more. During the first 25 years of statehood, Alaska saw wide swings in state revenues and fiscal policies, shifts in the balance of power between the governor and the legislature, development of an administrative bureaucracy, emergence of a court system recognized as one of the most progressive in the nation, and changing orientations of Alaskans toward their political system.

From Barrow, the nation's northernmost city, to Ketchikari in the Southeast, is a distance of over 1,000 miles, and fro Eagle on the Canadian border to Attu at the end of the Aleutian Islands is nearly 1,500 miles. These distances seem greater than they are because there are few means of direct transportation. The land forms of Alaska produce a variegated, rough terrain in a pattern discouraging transportation and human habitation. North America's highest mountain, Mount McKinley, is located in interior Alaska, across which cuts the Alaska Range, the northwestern spur of the Rocky Mountains.

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