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
1,985 299
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
1,636 323
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
1,801 690
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
1,145 391
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
953 444
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
967 823
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
1,198 2,120
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
724 363
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
1,819 208
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
1,022 319
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
1,138 291
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
1,123 758
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
1,264 816
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
723 276
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
1,319 500
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
1,238 258
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
1,047 282
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
1,222 518
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
588 511
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
877 350
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
694 322
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
707 429
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
850 447
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
862 222
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
751 312
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
637 232
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
857 367
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
803 339
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
677 216
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
604 361
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
525 224
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
494 245
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
558 297
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
646 248
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
532 258
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
749 254
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
552 265
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
370 179
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
527 291
Andrew Carnegie is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Andrew Carnegie Died at 84 (1835-1919)

42
421 262
Helen Keller is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
RobLein added Helen Keller Died at 88 (1880-1968)

43
415 108
Davy Crockett is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
null98Jeff added Davy Crockett Died at 50 (1786-1836)

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44
589 185
Neil Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History
Neil Armstrong Died at 82 (1930-2012)

45
427 271
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
676 295
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
438 261
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
509 205
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)