Mexican law prohibited the practice of human bondage, but national officials did not enforce the law in colonial Texas because the cultivation of cotton was the means to developing a cloth manufacturing industry. In 1829, when President Vicente Guerrero emancipated all slaves in Mexico, lawmakers exempted Texas to satisfy complaints by Stephen F. Austin on behalf of Texas slaveholders. In Texas, a system of indentured servitude developed whereby slaves signed a long-term contract with masters for labor and maintenance, thus changing their status but not their reality.
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