But the contract system for convicts and the peonage system (under which immigrants were held in practical slavery while they " worked out " advances made for passage-money, &c.) were still sources of much injustice.
Peons were persons held in servitude on account of debt, and the peonage system was sanctioned both by the custom of the Mexican provinces and by the laws of the Territory.
Peonage remained a legalized institution until 1867, when it was prohibited by an act of Congress.
State of peonage in which they are held.
Peonage, however, is still prevalent on many of the larger estates, and serious cruelties are sometimes reported.
Neglect of their children, unsanitary habits and surroundings, tribal intermarriage and peonage are the principal causes of the decreasing Indian population.
In this same year a system of peonage that had grown up in the state attracted wide attention, and a Federal grand jury at a single term of court indicted a number of men for holding persons as "peons."
The Federal authorities, as soon as the existence of peonage became known, took active measures to stamp it out, and were supported by the press and by the leading citizens of the state.