Neal Dow, the son of a tanner, was born in Portland, Maine, in 1804. He was brought up a Quaker and was taught to avoid alcohol. As an adult he joined the temperance movement.
A successful businessman, Dow established the Young Men's Abstinence Society in Portland. He also led the campaign that resulted in Maine passing the nation's first prohibition law in 1846.
Dow served as a general in the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1865 he joined with James Black in establishing the National Temperance Society and Publishing House and became a leading figure in the propaganda campaign in favour of preventing people drinking alcohol.
Dow, like most supporters of prohibition, was a member of the Republican Party. However, after the Civil War, the party came under the influence of the Brewers Association of the United States. In 1869 Dow and his friends formed the Prohibition Party.
In 1880 Dow was chosen as the party presidential candidate. However, he won only 10,305 votes. Neal Dow died in 1897.