“Freedom of the Public Lands!!!” petition from citizens of New York, 1860
The acquisition of western territories from Mexico intensified public pressure on Congress to open those areas to settlement. These New York State petitioners asked Congress to end the sale of public land at high prices that resulted in monopolies by large landowners. Instead, they wanted smaller plots to be given freely to settlers for farming.
Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration