united states The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History  

Originally by
92k votes 5.1k voters 147k views 139 items Follow Embed

List Rules American leaders only. Note: "Most important" or "most influential" does not equal "best."

List of the most important leaders in U.S. history. Love 'em or hate 'em, these leaders shaped American history from its founding through today. Men and women who have truly defined America through their work and leadership, even if it did not mean serving political office, are ranked here on this master list of leaders. Pioneers who changed the landscape, from the Civil Rights Movement, to Women's Suffrage, to the atom bomb, appear on this list of American leaders who changed the world.

The most important American presidents are ranked here, like Harry S. Truman and George Washington to name a few, along with First Ladies like Eleanor Roosevelt. Industry leaders like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller cannot be overlooked, nor can leaders who were not in the U.S. government itself, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Susan B. Anthony.

Leadership takes many forms throughout American history, and famous American leaders pervade all of history, but this list gives props to those who were the most influential. Vote up the most important U.S. leaders below, or if the United States is too small for you, make sure to peruse this list of The Most Important Leaders in World History.
list ordered by

1
+ - 1,714 257
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
George Washington Died at 67 (1732-1799)

The Worst U.S. Presidents The Best U.S. Presidents in the Past 50 Years

2
+ - 1,443 280
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Thomas Jefferson Died at 83 (1743-1826)

3
+ - 1,574 638
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Abraham Lincoln Died at 56 (1809-1865)

4
+ - 1,016 350
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
James Madison Died at 85 (1751-1836)

5
+ - 843 407
Thomas Paine is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Thomas Paine Died at 72 (1737-1809)

6
+ - 852 670
Eleanor Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Eleanor Roosevelt Died at 78 (1884-1962)

7
+ - 949 1,792
Donald Trump is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Donald Trump age 70

8
+ - 617 300
Patrick Henry is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Patrick Henry Died at 63 (1736-1799)

9
+ - 1,627 193
Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Benjamin Franklin Died at 84 (1706-1790)

10
+ - 931 294
John Hancock is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
John Hancock Died at 56 (1737-1793)

11
+ - 1,003 266
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
John Adams Died at 91 (1735-1826)

12
+ - 1,016 696
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
John F. Kennedy Died at 46 (1917-1963)

13
+ - 1,120 765
Martin Luther King, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Martin Luther King, Jr. Died at 39 (1929-1968)

14
+ - 661 240
James Monroe is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
James Monroe Died at 73 (1758-1831)

15
+ - 1,235 433
Franklin D. Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Franklin D. Roosevelt Died at 63 (1882-1945)

The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History 25 Old Celebrities You Didn't Realize Are Still Alive

16
+ - 985 251
Dwight D. Eisenhower is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Dwight D. Eisenhower Died at 79 (1890-1969)

17
+ - 1,145 231
Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Theodore Roosevelt Died at 61 (1858-1919)

18
+ - 944 257
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Alexander Hamilton Died at 47 (1757-1804)

19
+ - 508 411
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Died at 65 (1929-1994)

20
+ - 798 317
Ulysses S. Grant is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Ulysses S. Grant Died at 63 (1822-1885)

21
+ - 1,025 458
Ronald Reagan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Ronald Reagan Died at 93 (1911-2004)

22
+ - 620 283
Douglas MacArthur is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Douglas MacArthur Died at 84 (1880-1964)

23
+ - 642 382
Henry Ford is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Henry Ford Died at 84 (1863-1947)

24
+ - 761 411
Andrew Jackson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Andrew Jackson Died at 78 (1767-1845)

25
+ - 752 198
George S. Patton is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
George S. Patton Died at 60 (1885-1945) -  (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945)

26
+ - 564 210
Harry S. Truman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Harry S. Truman Died at 88 (1884-1972)

27
+ - 756 343
Robert E. Lee is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Robert E. Lee Died at 63 (1807-1870)

28
+ - 571 317
William Tecumseh Sherman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
William Tecumseh Sherman Died at 71 (1820-1891)

29
+ - 693 276
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Mark Twain Died at 75 (1835-1910)

15 Ways the Founding Fathers Disagree with Today's GOP The Best Qualities in a Woman

30
+ - 714 302
Thomas Edison is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Thomas Edison Died at 84 (1847-1931)

31
+ - 607 196
Samuel Adams is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Samuel Adams Died at 81 (1722-1803)

32
+ - 473 193
Paul Revere is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Paul Revere Died at 83 (1735-1818)

33
+ - 515 242
Susan B. Anthony is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Susan B. Anthony Died at 86 (1820-1906)

34
+ - 487 233
John Marshall is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
John Marshall Died at 80 (1755-1835)

35
+ - 447 218
Chester W. Nimitz is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Chester W. Nimitz Died at 81 (1885-1966)

36
+ - 675 233
Wright brothers is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

37
+ - 332 153
George Marshall is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
George Marshall Died at 79 (1880-1959)

38
+ - 490 268
Andrew Carnegie is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Andrew Carnegie Died at 84 (1835-1919)

39
+ - 507 231
Sitting Bull is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Sitting Bull Died at 59 (1831-1890)

40
+ - 575 225
Alexander Graham Bell is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Alexander Graham Bell Died at 75 (1847-1922)

41
+ - 374 254
Henry Clay is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Henry Clay Died at 75 (1777-1852)

42
+ - 389 189
Samuel Morse is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Samuel Morse Died at 81 (1791-1872)

43
+ - 473 179
Robert Oppenheimer is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Robert Oppenheimer Died at 63 (1904-1967)

10 American Politicians You've Never Heard of Who Basically Changed History Lying Politicians: The Worst Liars In American Politics

44
+ - 629 273
Stonewall Jackson is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Stonewall Jackson Died at 39 (1824-1863)

45
+ - 524 179
Jonas Salk is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Jonas Salk Died at 81 (1914-1995)

46
+ - 377 229
Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Helen Keller Died at 88 (1880-1968)

47
+ - 498 338
John D. Rockefeller is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
John D. Rockefeller Died at 98 (1839-1937)

48
+ - 418 282
James K. Polk is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
James K. Polk Died at 54 (1795-1849)

49
+ - 361 117
John Glenn is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
John Glenn age 95

50
+ - 373 139
John Paul Jones is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
John Paul Jones Died at 45 (1747-1792)