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politics The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History  

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List Rules World leaders with progressive yet realistic (for their times) approaches that bettered the lives of their people. Can be from any time period.

Enlightened leadership takes on many forms. Sometimes, especially in the ancient world, it was the codifying of laws and precepts to ensure fair treatment for all. But it could also be taking control of a country after a particularly bloody time and ushering in peace and prosperity. Or it could be campaigning for equal rights, even at great risk to yourself. All of those qualities are what you'll find in history's most progressive world leaders. These are leaders with humane, intelligent, and compassionate leadership styles, that improved the lives of those living under their rule.

History is full of despotic leaders - presidents, emperors, kings, and popes who used their power and privilege to enrich themselves and their cronies. But there have also been enlightened and wise leaders, who have united their people, stood firm for peace and freedom, and enhanced the human condition for everyone.

Here are some of the most enlightened leaders in history, from ancient to modern. Upvote those you feel were the most progressive and enlightened, not just those you agreed with.
list ordered by

1
+ - 355 139
Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Benjamin Franklin Died at 84 (1706-1790)

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2
+ - 379 167
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Thomas Jefferson Died at 83 (1743-1826)

3
+ - 448 220
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
George Washington Died at 67 (1732-1799)

4
+ - 280 109
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
James Madison Died at 85 (1751-1836)

5
+ - 281 111
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
John Adams Died at 91 (1735-1826)

6
+ - 453 238
Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Theodore Roosevelt Died at 61 (1858-1919)

7
+ - 476 313
Winston Churchill is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Winston Churchill Died at 91 (1874-1965)

8
+ - 338 220
Franklin D. Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Franklin D. Roosevelt Died at 63 (1882-1945)

9
+ - 273 203
Charles de Gaulle is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

10
+ - 260 204
Elizabeth I of England is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Elizabeth I of England Died at 70 (1533-1603)

11
+ - 285 232
Napoleon Bonaparte is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Napoleon Bonaparte Died at 52 (1769-1821)

12
+ - 246 200
Catherine II of Russia is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Catherine II of Russia Died at 67 (1729-1796)

13
+ - 278 237
Peter the Great is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Peter the Great Died at 53 (1672-1725)

14
+ - 194 148
Augustus is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Augustus Died at 76 (62 BC-14)

15
+ - 168 132
Constantine the Great is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Constantine the Great Died at 65 (272-337)

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16
+ - 172 140
Alfred the Great is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alfred the Great Died at 50 (849-899)

17
+ - 165 136
Hammurabi is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Hammurabi Died at 42 (1791 BC-1749 BC)

18
+ - 207 185
Martin Luther is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Martin Luther Died at 63 (1483-1546)

19
+ - 177 158
Dag Hammarskjöld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dag Hammarskjöld Died at 56 (1905-1961)

20
+ - 175 158
Pope John Paul II is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Pope John Paul II Died at 85 (1920-2005)

21
+ - 214 207
Louis IX of France is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Louis IX of France Died at 56 (1214-1270)

22
+ - 380 413
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Mahatma Gandhi Died at 79 (1869-1948)

23
+ - 217 223
Lech Wałęsa is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Lech Wałęsa age 73

24
+ - 253 271
Mikhail Gorbachev is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

25
+ - 139 131
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Julius Caesar Died at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)

26
+ - 107 92
Justinian I is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Justinian I Died at 83 (482-565)

27
+ - 116 112
Willy Brandt is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Willy Brandt Died at 79 (1913-1992)

28
+ - 89 82
Konrad Adenauer is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Konrad Adenauer Died at 91 (1876-1967)

29
+ - 114 120
Pope John XXIII is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Pope John XXIII Died at 82 (1881-1963)

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30
+ - 163 187
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

31
+ - 94 95
Akbar is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Akbar Died at 63 (1542-1605)

32
+ - 333 430
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Abraham Lincoln Died at 56 (1809-1865)

33
+ - 39 26
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

34
+ - 30 18
Ashoka is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Ashoka Died at 72 (303 BC-231 BC) - first Buddhist ruler

35
+ - 104 128
Suleiman the Magnificent is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Suleiman the Magnificent Died at 72 (1494-1566)

36
+ - 68 76
José Rizal is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
José Rizal Died at 35 (1861-1896)

37
+ - 28 25
Subhash Chandra Bose is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Subhash Chandra Bose Died at 48 (1897-1945)

38
+ - 69 89
Hatshepsut is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

39
+ - 57 74
Sun Yat-sen is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Sun Yat-sen Died at 59 (1866-1925)

40
+ - 61 81
Solon is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

41
+ - 60 80
José Mujica is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
José Mujica age 81

42
+ - 244 377
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
John F. Kennedy Died at 46 (1917-1963)

43
+ - 57 80
U Thant is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
U Thant Died at 65 (1909-1974)

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44
+ - 10 4
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alexander Hamilton Died at 47 (1757-1804)

45
+ - 17 16
Cyrus the Great is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

46
+ - 41 59
Ronald Reagan is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Ronald Reagan Died at 93 (1911-2004)

47
+ - 12 11
Lee Kuan Yew is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Lee Kuan Yew age 93

48
+ - 51 76
Alexander Dubček is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alexander Dubček Died at 71 (1921-1992)

49
+ - 11 10
B. R. Ambedkar is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
B. R. Ambedkar Died at 65 (1891-1956)

50
+ - 5 0
Ataturk is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Ataturk