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politics The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History  

Mike Rothschild
23.8k votes 1.7k voters 18.9k views 87 items Embed

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
385 160
Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Benjamin Franklin Died at 84 (1706-1790)

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2
471 246
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
George Washington Died at 67 (1732-1799)

3
398 198
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Thomas Jefferson Died at 83 (1743-1826)

4
470 262
Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Theodore Roosevelt Died at 61 (1858-1919)

5
292 131
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added James Madison Died at 85 (1751-1836)

6
297 136
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added John Adams Died at 91 (1735-1826)

7
508 334
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
359 238
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
279 223
Elizabeth I of England is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Elizabeth I of England Died at 70 (1533-1603)

10
282 230
Charles de Gaulle is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Charles de Gaulle age 68

11
301 255
Napoleon Bonaparte is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Napoleon Bonaparte Died at 52 (1769-1821)

12
207 159
Augustus is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Augustus Died at 76 (62 BC-14)

13
288 250
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
184 139
Hammurabi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Hammurabi Died at 42 (1791 BC-1749 BC)

15
185 141
Constantine the Great is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Constantine the Great Died at 65 (272-337)

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16
250 214
Catherine II of Russia is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Catherine II of Russia Died at 67 (1729-1796)

17
181 144
Alfred the Great is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alfred the Great Died at 50 (849-899)

18
433 429
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Mahatma Gandhi Died at 79 (1869-1948)

19
220 200
Martin Luther is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Martin Luther Died at 63 (1483-1546)

20
182 166
Dag Hammarskjöld is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dag Hammarskjöld Died at 56 (1905-1961)

21
188 178
Pope John Paul II is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Pope John Paul II Died at 85 (1920-2005)

22
153 137
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Julius Caesar Died at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)

23
216 213
Louis IX of France is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Louis IX of France Died at 56 (1214-1270)

24
229 231
Lech Wałęsa is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Lech Wałęsa age 73

25
266 278
Mikhail Gorbachev is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

26
113 97
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
46 21
Ashoka is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Ashoka Died at 72 (303 BC-231 BC) - first Buddhist ruler

28
50 28
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Indian added A. P. J. Abdul Kalam age 85

29
119 118
Willy Brandt is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Willy Brandt Died at 79 (1913-1992)

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30
94 86
Konrad Adenauer is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Konrad Adenauer Died at 91 (1876-1967)

31
361 435
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Abraham Lincoln Died at 56 (1809-1865)

32
104 100
Akbar is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Akbar Died at 63 (1542-1605)

33
176 194
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

34
119 132
Pope John XXIII is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Pope John XXIII Died at 82 (1881-1963)

35
22 6
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Guest_9f3262bd-77a8-43cf-94da-b2e24ab4ed15 added Alexander Hamilton Died at 47 (1757-1804)

36
36 28
Subhash Chandra Bose is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Indian added Subhash Chandra Bose Died at 48 (1897-1945)

37
110 136
Suleiman the Magnificent is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Suleiman the Magnificent Died at 72 (1494-1566)

38
69 80
José Rizal is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
alger-baldomero added José Rizal Died at 35 (1861-1896)

39
74 92
Hatshepsut is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

40
25 20
Cyrus the Great is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Cyrus the Great

41
19 13
B. R. Ambedkar is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Shefali added B. R. Ambedkar Died at 65 (1891-1956)

42
61 77
Sun Yat-sen is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Sun Yat-sen Died at 59 (1866-1925)

43
66 85
José Mujica is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
José Mujica age 81

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44
14 6
Ataturk is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Guest_30ddae15-1997-43bb-aba2-fc78584925c6 added Ataturk

45
65 84
Solon is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

46
16 11
Simon Bolivar is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Gregory Ditzler added Simon Bolivar

47
257 385
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
John F. Kennedy Died at 46 (1917-1963)

48
17 14
Vallabhbhai Patel is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
dshah added Vallabhbhai Patel Died at 75 (1875-1950)

49
55 75
Ronald Reagan is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Scott Reece added Ronald Reagan Died at 93 (1911-2004)

50
55 75
Václav Havel is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Václav Havel Died at 75 (1936-2011)