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.
  • 18 ReRanks
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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 & most listed age 60

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  2. 2
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    Died at 56 (1955-2011)

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  3. 3
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  4. 4
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    Died at 93 (1911-2004)

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  6. 6
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  7. 7
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  8. 8
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    often listed age 53

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  10. 10
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    age 74

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  11. 11
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  12. 12
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    ranked low on reranks age 69

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  13. 13
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks age 84

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  14. 14
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  15. 15
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    Died at 71 (1937-2008)

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  16. 16
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks age 89

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  17. 17
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    ranked low on reranks age 93

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  18. 18
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks age 68

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  19. 19
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  20. 20
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    ranked low on reranks age 73

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  21. 21
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    age 67

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  22. 22
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  23. 23
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  24. 24
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    age 74

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  25. 25
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  26. 26
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  27. 27
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  28. 28
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    age 51

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  29. 29
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  30. 30
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    ranked low on reranks age 78

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  31. 31
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  32. 32
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    ranked low on reranks age 47

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  33. 33
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    age 79

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  35. 35
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  36. 36
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    age 81

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  37. 37
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    ranked low on reranks age 91

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  38. 38
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  39. 39
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    added by jschro1861 Died at 93 (1916-2009)

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  40. 40
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    added by BostonBruins age 61

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  41. 41
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  42. 42
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    age 44

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  43. 43
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    often listed age 61

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  44. 44
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    age 51

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  45. 45
    + 53
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    added by HossBrown1 Died at 42 (1935-1977)

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  46. 46
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  47. 47
    + 180
    - 401

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

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  48. 48
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  49. 49
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    ranked low on reranks & added by JonathanWilliams age 57

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  50. 50
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    - 382
    ) open
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