Neal Dow (March 20, 1804 – October 2, 1897) was an American prohibition advocate and politician. Nicknamed the “Napoleon of Temperance” and the “Father of Prohibition”, Dow was born into a Quaker family in Portland, Maine, in 1804. From a young age, he was active in the cause of prohibition, which saw alcohol as the cause of many of society’s problems and sought to ban it. In 1850, Dow was elected president of the Maine Temperance Union, and the next year was elected mayor of Portland. Soon after, largely due to Dow’s efforts, the state legislature banned the sale and production of alcohol in what became known as the Maine Law. As mayor of Portland, Dow enforced the law with vigor and called for increasingly harsh penalties for violators. In 1855, his opponents rioted and he ordered the state militia to fire on the crowd. One man was killed and several wounded, and when public reaction to the violence turned against Dow, he chose not to face the voters for reelection.
Dow was later elected to two terms in the state legislature, but retired after a financial scandal. He joined the Union Army shortly after the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, eventually attaining the rank of brigadier general. He was wounded at the siege of Port Hudson and later captured. After being exchanged for another officer in 1864, Dow resigned from the military and devoted himself once more to prohibition. He spoke across the United States, Canada, and Great Britain in support of the cause. In 1880, Dow headed the Prohibition Party ticket for President of the United States. He gained very few votes, but continued to write and speak on behalf of the prohibition movement for the rest of his life. Dow died in Portland in 1897 at the age of 93.