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history The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History  

Mike Rothschild
36.7k votes 2.8k voters 30.9k views 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
538 313
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)

2
527 334
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
413 249
Augustus is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Augustus Died at 76 (62 BC-14)

4
204 80
Otto von Bismarck is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Paweł Langowski added Otto von Bismarck Died at 83 (1815-1898)

5
587 395
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
George Washington Died at 67 (1732-1799)

6
482 314
Elizabeth I of England is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Elizabeth I of England Died at 70 (1533-1603)

7
451 299
Martin Luther is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Martin Luther Died at 63 (1483-1546)

8
425 283
Catherine II of Russia is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Catherine II of Russia Died at 67 (1729-1796)

9
337 211
Alfred the Great is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alfred the Great Died at 50 (849-899)

10
563 409
Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Theodore Roosevelt Died at 61 (1858-1919)

11
473 332
Peter the Great is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Peter the Great Died at 53 (1672-1725)

12
169 72
William Tell is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added William Tell legendary Swiss freedom fighter

13
165 69
Charles Augustus, Grand Duke o... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Charles Augustus, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach Died at 71 (1757-1828) - promoted Enlightenment ideals

14
711 572
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Mahatma Gandhi Died at 79 (1869-1948)

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15
356 248
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added James Madison Died at 85 (1751-1836)

16
362 255
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added John Adams Died at 91 (1735-1826)

17
154 64
Eberhard I, Duke of Württember... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Eberhard I, Duke of Württemberg Died 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
281 195
Hammurabi is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Hammurabi Died at 42 (1791 BC-1749 BC)

19
291 210
Constantine the Great is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Constantine the Great Died at 65 (272-337)

20
314 233
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
648 566
Winston Churchill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Winston Churchill Died at 91 (1874-1965)

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22
160 92
Ho Chi Minh is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
TrầnĐứcNhã added Ho Chi Minh Died at 79 (1890-1969)

23
405 362
Napoleon Bonaparte is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Napoleon Bonaparte Died at 52 (1769-1821)

24
139 84
Subhash Chandra Bose is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Indian added Subhash Chandra Bose Died at 48 (1897-1945)

25
289 255
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

26
70 20
Pedro II of Brazil is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Arthur Brum added Pedro II of Brazil Died at 66 (1825-1891) - Inheriting an Empire on the verge of disintegration, Pedro II turned Portuguese-speaking Brazil into an emerging power in the international arena (wikipedia).

27
451 454
Franklin D. Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Franklin D. Roosevelt Died at 63 (1882-1945)

28
95 55
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alexander Hamilton Died at 47 (1757-1804)

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29
279 269
Louis IX of France is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Louis IX of France Died at 56 (1214-1270)

30
509 554
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Abraham Lincoln Died at 56 (1809-1865)

31
413 442
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
John F. Kennedy Died at 46 (1917-1963)

32
101 69
Ashoka is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Ashoka Died at 72 (303 BC-231 BC) - first Buddhist ruler

33
83 48
B. R. Ambedkar is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Shefali added B. R. Ambedkar Died at 65 (1891-1956)

34
50 9
Leonardo da Vinci is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Debra Myal added Leonardo da Vinci Died at 67 (1452-1519)

35
151 139
Justinian I is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Justinian I Died at 83 (482-565)

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36
103 83
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Indian added A. P. J. Abdul Kalam age 86

37
258 282
Pope John Paul II is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Pope John Paul II Died at 85 (1920-2005)

38
316 359
Mikhail Gorbachev is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

39
230 256
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Julius Caesar Died at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)

40
169 177
Ronald Reagan is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Scott Reece added Ronald Reagan Died at 93 (1911-2004)

41
64 44
Emperor Meiji is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
John Zauser added Emperor Meiji Died at 60 (1852-1912)

42
150 165
Willy Brandt is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Willy Brandt Died at 79 (1913-1992)

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43
150 166
Akbar is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Akbar Died at 63 (1542-1605)

44
123 130
Konrad Adenauer is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Konrad Adenauer Died at 91 (1876-1967)

45
309 397
Charles de Gaulle is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Charles de Gaulle age 69

46
421 558
Martin Luther King, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Martin Luther King, Jr. Died at 39 (1929-1968)

47
53 42
Queen Victoria is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Pdegeorge80 added Queen Victoria Died at 82 (1819-1901)

48
58 52
Cyrus the Great is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Cyrus the Great

49
270 359
Lech Wałęsa is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Lech Wałęsa age 74

50
161 208
Suleiman the Magnificent is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Suleiman the Magnificent Died at 72 (1494-1566)