117. Texas was the last frontier of slavery in the United States. Slavery began as an institution in Texas in or about 1824 when Moses Austin of Tennessee, a slave-holding state, received a grant from Spain to settle there with 300 families. Later that year when Moses died, his son Stephen was recognized as the heir to his father's contract; it was agreed that settlers could receive eighty acres of land for each bondman brought to Texas. Many of Stephen Austin's original 300 families brought slaves with them. A census of his colony in 1825 showed 443 slaves in a population of 1800. Several years later, in or about 1828-1829, Mexico declared independence and proclaimed the deliverance of every captive on her soil. This act of the Mexican government was resisted at once by the slave-holding settlers of Texas, despite their agreement to submit to the laws of Mexico. The resisters argued that their slaves were “too ignorant and degraded to be emancipated”. The Mexican government consented that the Texan slaves should only be gradually emancipated under a system of indentured apprenticeship. However, Texans evaded the spirit of the agreement by holding indentures binding for some 99 years.

118. The Texas Revolution assured slaveholders of the future of their institution. The Constitution of the Republic of Texas provided that slaves would remain the property of their owners; that the Texas Congress could not prohibit the immigration of slaveholders bringing their property and; that slaves could be imported from the US (although not from Africa).

119. With these protections, slavery expanded rapidly so that by 1845, when Texas joined the United States, the state was home to at least 30,000 bondsmen.

120. After statehood, slavery grew spectacularly. The census of 1856 reported 58,161 slaves or 27.4 percent of the Texas population.

121. By 1860, enslaved Africans constituted 30.2 percent of the total population. Slaves were increasing more rapidly than the population as a whole.

122. Although New Orleans was often considered as the center of the slave trade in the Deep South, there were dealers in Galveston and Houston. As many as 2,000 enslaved Africans came to Texas through the illegal African trade from 1835-1865.

Slavery promoted development of the agricultural economy in Texas in that it provided the labor for a 600 percent increase in the cotton production during the 1850's. Bondmen in Texas, like elsewhere had the legal status of personal property. They could be sold, mortgaged and hired out. They had no legally prescribed way to gain freedom. Blacks could not testify against whites in court, severely hampering their access to the communities... they must themselves swing the pick, and they won't swing it by the side of Negro slave. That is the upshot of the whole business. d.