Dow, Neal

Dow, Neal,

1804–97, American prohibitionist, b. Portland, Maine. He helped organize the Maine Temperance Union in 1838 and prepared (1851) the famous "Maine Law," which superseded the less rigid prohibition legislation of 1846. As mayor of Portland (1851–59), Dow succeeded with difficulty in making his law operative in that city. He lectured on prohibition throughout the United States, and in 1857 he visited England. He was the Prohibition party's candidate for President in 1880.


See his reminiscences (1898) and biography by F. L. Byrne (1961, repr. 1969).

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Dow, Neal

(1804–97) temperance reformer; born in Portland, Maine. A businessman devoted to the temperance movement, he helped win passage in Maine of the first state prohibition law (1846), banning sale of alcohol by the drink. After being elected mayor of Portland (1851), he won passage of landmark state laws extending the ban to virtually all alcohol sales and providing imprisonment for offenders. A riot in Portland (1856) led to the repeal of prohibition, although Dow won passage of a milder law after being elected to the state legislature in 1858. In later life he toured the United States and Britain preaching prohibition; he ran for president in 1880 as candidate of the Prohibition Party.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.