america The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History  

Mel Judson
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List Rules American leaders only. Note: "Most important" or "most influential" does not equal "best."

List of the most important leaders in U.S. history. Love 'em or hate 'em, these leaders shaped American history from its founding through today. Men and women who have truly defined America through their work and leadership, even if it did not mean serving political office, are ranked here on this master list of leaders. Pioneers who changed the landscape, from the Civil Rights Movement, to Women's Suffrage, to the atom bomb, appear on this list of American leaders who changed the world.

The most important American presidents are ranked here, like Harry S. Truman and George Washington to name a few, along with First Ladies like Eleanor Roosevelt. Industry leaders like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller cannot be overlooked, nor can leaders who were not in the U.S. government itself, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Susan B. Anthony.

Leadership takes many forms throughout American history, and famous American leaders pervade all of history, but this list gives props to those who were the most influential. Vote up the most important U.S. leaders below, or if the United States is too small for you, make sure to peruse this list of The Most Important Leaders in World History.
list ordered by

1
1,996 300
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
George Washington Died at 67 (1732-1799)

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2
1,641 325
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Thomas Jefferson Died at 83 (1743-1826)

3
1,809 691
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Abraham Lincoln Died at 56 (1809-1865)

4
1,148 392
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
James Madison Died at 85 (1751-1836)

5
954 447
Thomas Paine is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Thomas Paine Died at 72 (1737-1809)

6
972 829
Eleanor Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Eleanor Roosevelt Died at 78 (1884-1962)

7
1,206 2,140
Donald Trump is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Ashutosh Kumar added Donald Trump age 70

8
724 366
Patrick Henry is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
null98Jeff added Patrick Henry Died at 63 (1736-1799)

9
1,822 210
Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Benjamin Franklin Died at 84 (1706-1790)

10
1,023 321
John Hancock is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
John Hancock Died at 56 (1737-1793)

11
1,143 291
John Adams is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
John Adams Died at 91 (1735-1826)

12
1,126 759
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
John F. Kennedy Died at 46 (1917-1963)

13
1,268 817
Martin Luther King, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Martin Luther King, Jr. Died at 39 (1929-1968)

14
723 277
James Monroe is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
James Monroe Died at 73 (1758-1831)

15
1,086 274
Dwight D. Eisenhower is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Dwight D. Eisenhower Died at 79 (1890-1969)

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16
1,322 500
Franklin D. Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Franklin D. Roosevelt Died at 63 (1882-1945)

17
1,241 258
Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Theodore Roosevelt Died at 61 (1858-1919)

18
1,049 282
Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Alexander Hamilton Died at 47 (1757-1804)

19
1,227 518
Ronald Reagan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
AmandaHall added Ronald Reagan Died at 93 (1911-2004)

20
590 511
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Died at 65 (1929-1994)

21
878 350
Ulysses S. Grant is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Ulysses S. Grant Died at 63 (1822-1885)

22
695 322
Douglas MacArthur is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
AmandaHall added Douglas MacArthur Died at 84 (1880-1964)

23
707 430
Henry Ford is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Henry Ford Died at 84 (1863-1947)

24
851 447
Andrew Jackson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Andrew Jackson Died at 78 (1767-1845)

25
863 222
George S. Patton is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
sev674475 added George S. Patton Died at 60 (1885-1945) -  (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945)

26
754 313
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Mark Twain Died at 75 (1835-1910)

27
638 232
Harry S. Truman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Harry S. Truman Died at 88 (1884-1972)

28
858 368
Robert E. Lee is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Robert E. Lee Died at 63 (1807-1870)

29
806 339
Thomas Edison is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Thomas Edison Died at 84 (1847-1931)

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30
678 216
Samuel Adams is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Samuel Adams Died at 81 (1722-1803)

31
605 361
William Tecumseh Sherman is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
jschro1861 added William Tecumseh Sherman Died at 71 (1820-1891)

32
525 225
Paul Revere is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Paul Revere Died at 83 (1735-1818)

33
495 245
Chester W. Nimitz is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Chester W. Nimitz Died at 81 (1885-1966)

34
560 297
Susan B. Anthony is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Susan B. Anthony Died at 86 (1820-1906)

35
647 248
Alexander Graham Bell is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Alexander Graham Bell Died at 75 (1847-1922)

36
533 258
John Marshall is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
John Marshall Died at 80 (1755-1835)

37
751 254
Wright brothers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

38
579 195
Jonas Salk is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Jonas Salk Died at 81 (1914-1995)

39
554 265
Sitting Bull is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Valdave added Sitting Bull Died at 59 (1831-1890)

40
371 179
George Marshall is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
RobLein added George Marshall Died at 79 (1880-1959)

41
423 262
Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
RobLein added Helen Keller Died at 88 (1880-1968)

42
528 291
Andrew Carnegie is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Andrew Carnegie Died at 84 (1835-1919)

43
591 185
Neil Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Neil Armstrong Died at 82 (1930-2012)

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44
415 108
Davy Crockett is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
null98Jeff added Davy Crockett Died at 50 (1786-1836)

45
428 271
Babe Ruth is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Babe Ruth Died at 53 (1895-1948)

46
401 283
Henry Clay is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Henry Clay Died at 75 (1777-1852)

47
421 212
Samuel Morse is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Samuel Morse Died at 81 (1791-1872)

48
678 295
Stonewall Jackson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Stonewall Jackson Died at 39 (1824-1863)

49
438 262
John Jay is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
John Jay Died at 84 (1745-1829)

50
510 206
Robert Oppenheimer is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Robert Oppenheimer Died at 63 (1904-1967)