James Appleton (1786–1862) was an American abolitionist, temperance activist and politician from Maine. Appleton fought in the War of 1812 and earned the rank of colonel. Appleton lived much of his life in Ipswich, Massachusetts and nearby Marblehead, Massachusetts prior to moving to Maine. Upon moving to Portland, Maine, he served in the Maine House of Representatives.
Appleton ran for Governor of Maine in 1842 with the Liberty Party, an abolitionist political party. He was also a noted and early supporter of alcohol prohibition.
Appleton was born in Ipswich, Massachusetts on a family farm that had been granted to his ancestor, Samuel Appleton, in 1636. He lived in Portland from 1833 to 1853, after which he retired back to Ipswich. He died there in 1862.