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Weird History The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History  

Mike Rothschild
42.3k votes 3.3k voters 39k 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
631 423
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
275 138
Otto von Bismarck is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Paweł Langowski added Dec. at 83 (1815-1898)
3
487 313
Augustus is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 76 (62 BC-14)
4
895 652
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 79 (1869-1948)
5
662 475
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 67 (1732-1799)
6
538 371
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
589 415
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 83 (1743-1826)
8
515 356
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
240 124
Subhash Chandra Bose is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Indian added Dec. at 48 (1897-1945)
10
528 381
Peter the Great is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 53 (1672-1725)
11
377 251
Alfred the Great is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 50 (849-899)
12
616 463
Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 61 (1858-1919)
13
476 340
Catherine II of Russia is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 67 (1729-1796)
14
328 230
Hammurabi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 42 (1791 BC-1749 BC)
15
118 33
Leonardo da Vinci is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Debra Myal added Dec. at 67 (1452-1519)
16
397 301
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
386 292
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Dec. at 85 (1751-1836)
18
327 244
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
704 621
Winston Churchill is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 91 (1874-1965)
20
190 114
William Tell is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added William Tell

legendary Swiss freedom fighter

21
174 100
Eberhard I, Duke of Württember... is listed (or ranked) 21 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)

22
181 110
Charles Augustus, Grand Duke o... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Dec. at 71 (1757-1828)

promoted Enlightenment ideals

23
160 94
Ashoka is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Dec. at 72 (303 BC-231 BC)

first Buddhist ruler

24
332 272
Dag Hammarskjöld is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dec. at 56 (1905-1961)
25
454 403
Napoleon Bonaparte is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Dec. at 52 (1769-1821)