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history The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History  

Mike Rothschild
30.8k votes 2.3k voters 24.5k 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
466 237
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
469 269
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
532 320
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
516 341
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
327 191
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
336 201
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
351 249
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
308 211
Augustus is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Augustus Died at 76 (62 BC-14)

9
105 23
Otto von Bismarck is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Paweł Langowski added Otto von Bismarck Died at 83 (1815-1898)

10
571 470
Winston Churchill is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Winston Churchill Died at 91 (1874-1965)

11
369 279
Elizabeth I of England is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Elizabeth I of England Died at 70 (1533-1603)

12
384 296
Peter the Great is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Peter the Great Died at 53 (1672-1725)

13
336 252
Catherine II of Russia is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Catherine II of Russia Died at 67 (1729-1796)

14
256 180
Alfred the Great is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alfred the Great Died at 50 (849-899)

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15
586 525
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Mahatma Gandhi Died at 79 (1869-1948)

16
98 35
William Tell is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added William Tell legendary Swiss freedom fighter

17
409 365
Franklin D. Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Franklin D. Roosevelt Died at 63 (1882-1945)

18
249 198
Dag Hammarskjöld is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Dag Hammarskjöld Died at 56 (1905-1961)

19
94 35
Charles Augustus, Grand Duke o... is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
227 182
Constantine the Great is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Constantine the Great Died at 65 (272-337)

21
217 173
Hammurabi is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Hammurabi Died at 42 (1791 BC-1749 BC)

The Worst A-List Hollywood Actors

22
87 33
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
344 315
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
86 34
Eberhard I, Duke of Württember... is listed (or ranked) 24 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)

25
227 229
Pope John Paul II is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Pope John Paul II Died at 85 (1920-2005)

26
237 244
Louis IX of France is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Louis IX of France Died at 56 (1214-1270)

27
60 26
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Alexander Hamilton Died at 47 (1757-1804)

28
219 226
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

The Best American Founding Fathers

29
435 503
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Abraham Lincoln Died at 56 (1809-1865)

30
292 326
Mikhail Gorbachev is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

31
133 124
Justinian I is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Justinian I Died at 83 (482-565)

32
74 51
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
86 70
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Indian added A. P. J. Abdul Kalam age 85

34
201 221
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Julius Caesar Died at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)

35
116 111
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)

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36
342 407
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
John F. Kennedy Died at 46 (1917-1963)

37
142 146
Willy Brandt is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Willy Brandt Died at 79 (1913-1992)

38
296 351
Charles de Gaulle is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Charles de Gaulle age 68

39
73 56
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
118 120
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
52 31
B. R. Ambedkar is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Shefali added B. R. Ambedkar Died at 65 (1891-1956)

42
129 151
Akbar is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Akbar Died at 63 (1542-1605)

16 World Leaders Who Were (Or Are) Tall AF

43
253 333
Lech Wałęsa is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Lech Wałęsa age 73

44
135 168
Pope John XXIII is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
RobLein added Pope John XXIII Died at 82 (1881-1963)

45
81 100
Solon is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

46
42 42
Cyrus the Great is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Newhere added Cyrus the Great

47
135 186
Suleiman the Magnificent is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Suleiman the Magnificent Died at 72 (1494-1566)

48
359 531
Martin Luther King, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
leon-snyers added Martin Luther King, Jr. Died at 39 (1929-1968)

49
35 33
Emperor Meiji is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
John Zauser added Emperor Meiji Died at 60 (1852-1912)

50
32 29
Simon Bolivar is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History
Gregory Ditzler added Simon Bolivar