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history The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History  

Mike Rothschild
27.2k votes 2.1k voters 21.9k 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
426 210
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
434 243
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
497 298
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
George Washington Died at 67 (1732-1799)

4
492 315
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
310 169
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
315 179
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
530 393
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
386 291
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
536 471
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Mahatma Gandhi Died at 79 (1869-1948)

10
239 192
Augustus is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Augustus Died at 76 (62 BC-14)

11
272 230
Martin Luther is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Martin Luther Died at 63 (1483-1546)

12
329 295
Napoleon Bonaparte is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Napoleon Bonaparte Died at 52 (1769-1821)

13
299 263
Elizabeth I of England is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Elizabeth I of England Died at 70 (1533-1603)

14
314 283
Peter the Great is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Peter the Great Died at 53 (1672-1725)

15
274 241
Catherine II of Russia is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Catherine II of Russia Died at 67 (1729-1796)

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16
210 172
Constantine the Great is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Constantine the Great Died at 65 (272-337)

17
198 162
Hammurabi is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Hammurabi Died at 42 (1791 BC-1749 BC)

18
199 168
Alfred the Great is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alfred the Great Died at 50 (849-899)

19
185 162
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Julius Caesar Died at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)

20
200 184
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
289 299
Charles de Gaulle is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Charles de Gaulle age 68

22
228 233
Louis IX of France is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Louis IX of France Died at 56 (1214-1270)

23
210 213
Pope John Paul II is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Pope John Paul II Died at 85 (1920-2005)

24
78 53
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Indian added A. P. J. Abdul Kalam age 85

25
285 308
Mikhail Gorbachev is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

26
403 456
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Abraham Lincoln Died at 56 (1809-1865)

27
205 214
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

28
65 41
Ashoka is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Ashoka Died at 72 (303 BC-231 BC) - first Buddhist ruler

29
122 114
Justinian I is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Justinian I Died at 83 (482-565)

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30
39 10
Otto von Bismarck is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Paweł Langowski added Otto von Bismarck Died at 83 (1815-1898)

31
123 120
Akbar is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Akbar Died at 63 (1542-1605)

32
131 133
Willy Brandt is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Willy Brandt Died at 79 (1913-1992)

33
242 281
Lech Wałęsa is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Lech Wałęsa age 73

34
44 23
William Tell is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added William Tell legendary Swiss freedom fighter

35
103 101
Konrad Adenauer is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Konrad Adenauer Died at 91 (1876-1967)

36
37 18
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alexander Hamilton Died at 47 (1757-1804)

37
40 24
B. R. Ambedkar is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Shefali added B. R. Ambedkar Died at 65 (1891-1956)

38
40 24
Charles Augustus, Grand Duke o... is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
53 43
Subhash Chandra Bose is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Indian added Subhash Chandra Bose Died at 48 (1897-1945)

40
127 153
Pope John XXIII is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Pope John XXIII Died at 82 (1881-1963)

41
293 398
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
John F. Kennedy Died at 46 (1917-1963)

42
31 24
Eberhard I, Duke of Württember... is listed (or ranked) 42 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)

43
122 156
Suleiman the Magnificent is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Suleiman the Magnificent Died at 72 (1494-1566)

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44
27 21
Ho Chi Minh is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
TrầnĐứcNhã added Ho Chi Minh Died at 79 (1890-1969)

45
28 24
Ataturk is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Ataturk

46
33 32
Cyrus the Great is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Cyrus the Great

47
77 102
Hatshepsut is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

48
71 93
Solon is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

49
23 21
Simon Bolivar is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Gregory Ditzler added Simon Bolivar

50
66 87
Václav Havel is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Václav Havel Died at 75 (1936-2011)