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history The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History  

Mike Rothschild
27.6k votes 2.1k voters 22.1k 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
431 212
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
436 246
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
501 300
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
493 318
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
310 171
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
315 181
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
530 401
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
387 296
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
541 476
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
246 193
Augustus is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Augustus Died at 76 (62 BC-14)

11
277 230
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
305 263
Elizabeth I of England is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Elizabeth I of England Died at 70 (1533-1603)

13
320 283
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
331 295
Napoleon Bonaparte is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Napoleon Bonaparte Died at 52 (1769-1821)

15
279 241
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
211 172
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
204 168
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
198 163
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
204 185
Dag Hammarskjöld is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dag Hammarskjöld Died at 56 (1905-1961)

20
187 167
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Julius Caesar Died at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)

21
45 10
Otto von Bismarck is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Paweł Langowski added Otto von Bismarck Died at 83 (1815-1898)

22
289 305
Charles de Gaulle is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Charles de Gaulle age 68

23
230 234
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
210 216
Pope John Paul II is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Pope John Paul II Died at 85 (1920-2005)

25
285 309
Mikhail Gorbachev is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

26
78 55
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
405 461
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Abraham Lincoln Died at 56 (1809-1865)

28
206 215
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

29
123 114
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
65 42
Ashoka is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Ashoka Died at 72 (303 BC-231 BC) - first Buddhist ruler

31
49 24
William Tell is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added William Tell legendary Swiss freedom fighter

32
135 134
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
123 121
Akbar is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Akbar Died at 63 (1542-1605)

34
107 102
Konrad Adenauer is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Konrad Adenauer Died at 91 (1876-1967)

35
45 24
Charles Augustus, Grand Duke o... is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
242 287
Lech Wałęsa is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Lech Wałęsa age 73

37
38 18
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alexander Hamilton Died at 47 (1757-1804)

38
42 24
B. R. Ambedkar is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Shefali added B. R. Ambedkar Died at 65 (1891-1956)

39
55 45
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
36 24
Eberhard I, Duke of Württember... is listed (or ranked) 40 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)

41
127 153
Pope John XXIII is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Pope John XXIII Died at 82 (1881-1963)

42
298 398
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
John F. Kennedy Died at 46 (1917-1963)

43
32 22
Ho Chi Minh is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
TrầnĐứcNhã added Ho Chi Minh Died at 79 (1890-1969)

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44
124 159
Suleiman the Magnificent is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Suleiman the Magnificent Died at 72 (1494-1566)

45
33 34
Cyrus the Great is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Cyrus the Great

46
29 28
Ataturk is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Ataturk

47
71 94
Solon is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

48
23 21
Simon Bolivar is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Gregory Ditzler added Simon Bolivar

49
77 105
Hatshepsut is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

50
66 89
Václav Havel is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Václav Havel Died at 75 (1936-2011)