Seth M. Gates's outspoken criticism of slavery marked his two terms in the House of Representatives, from 1839 to 1843. When Gates used his congressional position to mail out the proceedings of- the World Anti?Slavery Convention in 1840, a Savannah planter put a $500 bounty on his head, dead or alive.
Warsaw residents had formed an antislavery society in 1833, and the first antislavery political party, the Liberty Party, started here in 1839. Gates moved to Warsaw in 1844, where he joined an active local antilavery community Gates became one of the town's seven Underground Railroad conductors. One of the eulogies at Gates's funeral in 1877 explained that "he felt that duty to his God, who had made of one blood all nations of men. . . bade him to strike as best he could against the fetters on the limbs of his brothers."