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history The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History  

Mike Rothschild
34.9k votes 2.6k voters 28.3k 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
516 286
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
507 310
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
567 365
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
175 58
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
385 238
Augustus is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Augustus Died at 76 (62 BC-14)

6
454 301
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
420 282
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
544 391
Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Theodore Roosevelt Died at 61 (1858-1919)

9
402 273
Catherine II of Russia is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Catherine II of Russia Died at 67 (1729-1796)

10
452 322
Peter the Great is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Peter the Great Died at 53 (1672-1725)

11
347 231
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added James Madison Died at 85 (1751-1836)

12
316 205
Alfred the Great is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alfred the Great Died at 50 (849-899)

13
353 239
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added John Adams Died at 91 (1735-1826)

14
149 61
Charles Augustus, Grand Duke o... is listed (or ranked) 14 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

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15
150 62
William Tell is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added William Tell legendary Swiss freedom fighter

16
666 558
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Mahatma Gandhi Died at 79 (1869-1948)

17
138 58
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
619 541
Winston Churchill is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Winston Churchill Died at 91 (1874-1965)

19
274 202
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
297 225
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
260 191
Hammurabi is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Hammurabi Died at 42 (1791 BC-1749 BC)

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22
140 77
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
383 351
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
120 76
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
435 430
Franklin D. Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Franklin D. Roosevelt Died at 63 (1882-1945)

26
270 246
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

27
57 13
Pedro II of Brazil is listed (or ranked) 27 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).

28
267 262
Louis IX of France is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Louis IX of France Died at 56 (1214-1270)

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29
82 45
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alexander Hamilton Died at 47 (1757-1804)

30
77 42
B. R. Ambedkar is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Shefali added B. R. Ambedkar Died at 65 (1891-1956)

31
481 541
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
93 65
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
390 432
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
John F. Kennedy Died at 46 (1917-1963)

34
146 136
Justinian I is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Justinian I Died at 83 (482-565)

35
251 268
Pope John Paul II is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Pope John Paul II Died at 85 (1920-2005)

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36
98 79
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
309 347
Mikhail Gorbachev is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

38
159 157
Ronald Reagan is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Scott Reece added Ronald Reagan Died at 93 (1911-2004)

39
217 247
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
122 122
Konrad Adenauer is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Konrad Adenauer Died at 91 (1876-1967)

41
58 39
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
146 158
Willy Brandt is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Willy Brandt Died at 79 (1913-1992)

Where You've Seen All The Black Panther Actors Before

43
25 3
Leonardo da Vinci is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Debra Myal added Leonardo da Vinci Died at 67 (1452-1519)

44
305 384
Charles de Gaulle is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Charles de Gaulle age 69

45
140 162
Akbar is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Akbar Died at 63 (1542-1605)

46
55 47
Cyrus the Great is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Cyrus the Great

47
46 36
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
265 352
Lech Wałęsa is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Lech Wałęsa age 74

49
397 547
Martin Luther King, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Martin Luther King, Jr. Died at 39 (1929-1968)

50
51 51
Elizabeth II is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Pdegeorge80 added Elizabeth II age 91