The Most Influential Contemporary Americans People
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The Most Influential Contemporary Americans

List Criteria: Americans who are alive today (or who died less than 20 years ago) and have impacted the way Americans live their lives

A list of the Americans who have had the most central influence on, or importance to, the modern era. This would include Americans who have most significantly altered the course of events from roughly the 1980s onward. So while someone like Ronald Reagan or Steve Jobs might very well apply, figures like Franklin D. Roosevelt or even Martin Luther King Jr. would probably not be considered contemporary enough to qualify.

Americans from every walk of life and every industry have managed to profoundly influence the country. This can include efforts to alter the culture or perspective of Americans, technological or scientific innovations that forever changed the way we live, business achievements which altered the course of one or multiple industries, or political decisions that permanently shifted later events in America and the world.

Vote for the Americans below you think had the greatest impact on the way we live today. Or if you don't see your selection, add it by making your own list.
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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 age 59

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    most listed Died at 56 (1955-2011)

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    age 53

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    Died at 93 (1911-2004)

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    age 68

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    age 30

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    age 68

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    age 84

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks age 83

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    age 52

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    age 73

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    age 68

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    age 67

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    Died at 71 (1937-2008)

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks age 88

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    age 72

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    age 70

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    age 72

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    age 73

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    age 51

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    age 66

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    age 67

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    age 50

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    age 63

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    age 77

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    age 91

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    age 86

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    age 92

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    age 61

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    age 51

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks age 79

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks age 78

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    ranked low on reranks age 90

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    age 90

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  36. 36
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    added by BostonBruins age 60

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    age 43

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    age 80

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    age 50

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    age 60

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    ranked low on reranks & added by JonathanWilliams age 56

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    age 90

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    age 60

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  44. 44
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    added by jschro1861 Died at 93 (1916-2009)

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    added by 2probb Died at 51 (1958-2009)

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    age 39

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    Died at 68 (1937-2005)

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    Died at 66 (1942-2008)

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    age 69

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  50. 50
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    age 49

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