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politics The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History  

Mike Rothschild
24.8k votes 1.9k voters 20.0k 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
396 181
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
414 213
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
479 268
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
300 144
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added James Madison Died at 85 (1751-1836)

5
478 283
Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Theodore Roosevelt Died at 61 (1858-1919)

6
303 150
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
517 349
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
370 251
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
285 238
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
471 439
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Mahatma Gandhi Died at 79 (1869-1948)

11
196 150
Constantine the Great is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Constantine the Great Died at 65 (272-337)

12
311 272
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
285 245
Charles de Gaulle is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Charles de Gaulle age 68

14
214 172
Augustus is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Augustus Died at 76 (62 BC-14)

15
188 145
Hammurabi is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Hammurabi Died at 42 (1791 BC-1749 BC)

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16
259 221
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
295 261
Peter the Great is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Peter the Great Died at 53 (1672-1725)

18
185 152
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
233 208
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
187 169
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
162 143
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Julius Caesar Died at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)

22
194 188
Pope John Paul II is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Pope John Paul II Died at 85 (1920-2005)

23
218 217
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
275 287
Mikhail Gorbachev is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

25
231 236
Lech Wałęsa is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Lech Wałęsa age 73

26
61 32
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Indian added A. P. J. Abdul Kalam age 85

27
113 102
Justinian I is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Justinian I Died at 83 (482-565)

28
53 28
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
375 441
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Abraham Lincoln Died at 56 (1809-1865)

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30
122 120
Willy Brandt is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Willy Brandt Died at 79 (1913-1992)

31
111 106
Akbar is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Akbar Died at 63 (1542-1605)

32
184 200
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

33
95 89
Konrad Adenauer is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Konrad Adenauer Died at 91 (1876-1967)

34
28 9
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Guest_9f3262bd-77a8-43cf-94da-b2e24ab4ed15 added Alexander Hamilton Died at 47 (1757-1804)

35
122 139
Pope John XXIII is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Pope John XXIII Died at 82 (1881-1963)

36
42 32
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
28 14
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
114 139
Suleiman the Magnificent is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Suleiman the Magnificent Died at 72 (1494-1566)

39
20 7
Ataturk is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Guest_30ddae15-1997-43bb-aba2-fc78584925c6 added Ataturk

40
70 83
José Rizal is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
alger-baldomero added José Rizal Died at 35 (1861-1896)

41
27 23
Cyrus the Great is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Cyrus the Great

42
69 86
José Mujica is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
José Mujica age 81

43
62 77
Václav Havel is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Václav Havel Died at 75 (1936-2011)

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44
74 95
Hatshepsut is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

45
19 15
Simon Bolivar is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Gregory Ditzler added Simon Bolivar

46
61 80
Sun Yat-sen is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Sun Yat-sen Died at 59 (1866-1925)

47
21 19
Vallabhbhai Patel is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
dshah added Vallabhbhai Patel Died at 75 (1875-1950)

48
264 390
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
John F. Kennedy Died at 46 (1917-1963)

49
65 87
Solon is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

50
11 5
Otto von Bismarck is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Paweł Langowski added Otto von Bismarck Died at 83 (1815-1898)