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Weird History The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History  

Mike Rothschild
40.9k votes 3.2k voters 37.1k views

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
608 389
Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Dec. at 84 (1706-1790)

2
463 292
Augustus is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 76 (62 BC-14)

3
643 449
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 67 (1732-1799)

4
250 123
Otto von Bismarck is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Paweł Langowski added Dec. at 83 (1815-1898)

5
571 398
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 83 (1743-1826)

6
518 358
Elizabeth I of England is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 70 (1533-1603)

7
828 624
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 79 (1869-1948)

8
495 341
Martin Luther is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Dec. at 63 (1483-1546)

9
513 368
Peter the Great is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 53 (1672-1725)

10
603 448
Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 61 (1858-1919)

11
461 324
Catherine II of Russia is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 67 (1729-1796)

12
365 240
Alfred the Great is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 50 (849-899)

13
210 111
Subhash Chandra Bose is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Indian added Dec. at 48 (1897-1945)

14
316 223
Hammurabi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 42 (1791 BC-1749 BC)

15
378 284
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Dec. at 85 (1751-1836)

16
386 293
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Dec. at 91 (1735-1826)

17
170 90
Eberhard I, Duke of Württember... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Dec. at 51 (1445-1496) -

founded the University of Tübingen; is said to have been "able to rest his head on the lap of every one of his subjects without having fear for his life or property" (Wikipedia)

18
320 236
Constantine the Great is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Dec. at 65 (272-337)

19
185 105
William Tell is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added William Tell

legendary Swiss freedom fighter

20
688 604
Winston Churchill is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 91 (1874-1965)

21
176 102
Charles Augustus, Grand Duke o... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Dec. at 71 (1757-1828) -

promoted Enlightenment ideals

22
98 29
Leonardo da Vinci is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Debra Myal added Dec. at 67 (1452-1519)

23
326 263
Dag Hammarskjöld is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 56 (1905-1961)

24
441 392
Napoleon Bonaparte is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Dec. at 52 (1769-1821)

25
332 282
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History