Nathan Appleton (October 1, 1779 - July 14, 1861) was an American merchant and politician born in New Ipswich, New Hampshire. He was educated in the New Ipswich academy, and in 1794 entered mercantile life in Boston in the employment of his brother, Samuel (1766-1853), a successful and benevolent man of business, with whom he was in partnership from 1800 to 1809. He co-operated with Francis C. Lowell and others in introducing the power-loom and the manufacture of cotton on a large scale into the United States, a factory being esablished at Waltham, Massachusetts in 1814, and another in 1822 at Lowell, Massachusetts, of which city he was one of the founders.
He was a member of the general court of Massachusetts in 1816, 1821, 1822, 1824 and 1827, and in 1831-1833 and 1842 of the national House of Representatives, in which he was prominent as an advocate of protective duties. He died in Boston.