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The Top 100 Most Influential Men/Women in American History

Updated June 14, 2019 51.6k votes 4.7k voters 208.9k views191 items

List Rulesmost influential men and women in american history, even if not born here

Simply put, America wouldn't be where it is today without the influential men and women who've led their lives for the better of those around them. From Rosa Parks to Alfred Hitchcock, each of these individuals pushed for progress in many regards, and because of them, America has come a very long way. 

These influential men and women, and their stories, speak for themselves. So without further ado, check out the list of eminent people to follow. Don't forget to cast your vote up or down accordingly to help determine just who was the most influential

  • Photo: patrickhashley / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    George Washington was the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the convention that drafted the United States Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and remains the supreme law of the land. Washington was unanimously elected President by the electors in both the 1788–1789 and 1792 elections....  more
    • Profession: Surveyor, Politician, Soldier, Military Officer, Farmer
    • Age: Dec. at 67 (1732-1799)
    • Birthplace: Virginia, United States of America
    Influential or not?

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  • Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy. Born in Kentucky, Lincoln grew up on the frontier in a poor family. Self-educated, he became a lawyer, Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator and Congressman. In 1849, he left government to resume his law practice, but angered by the success of...  more
    • Profession: Statesman, Politician, Lawyer
    • Age: Dec. at 56 (1809-1865)
    • Birthplace: Hodgenville, Kentucky, United States of America
    • Cause Of Death: Ballistic trauma, Assassination
    • Credits: The Perfect Tribute, Atlanta Symphony Golden Anniversary, A Tribute to John F. Kennedy from the Arts, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
    Influential or not?

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  • Photo: The U.S. National Archives / Flickr
    Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Born in Atlanta, King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, tactics his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi helped inspire. King led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and in 1957 became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). With the SCLC, he led an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia, and helped organize the nonviolent 1963...  more
    • Profession: Civil rights activist, Writer, Minister of religion
    • Age: Dec. at 39 (1929-1968)
    • Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America
    • Cause Of Death: Assassination by firearm
    • Credits: Freedom Writers,I Am Curious (Yellow),The UCLA Dynasty,Pariah
    Influential or not?

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  • Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    William Averell Harriman (November 15, 1891 – July 26, 1986), better known as Averell Harriman, was an American Democratic politician, businessman, and diplomat. The son of railroad baron E. H. Harriman, he served as Secretary of Commerce under President Harry S. Truman and later as the 48th Governor of New York. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952 and 1956, as well as a core member of the group of foreign policy elders known as "The Wise Men". While attending Groton School and Yale University, he made contacts that led to creation of a banking firm that eventually merged into Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.. He owned parts of various other companies,...  more
    • Profession: Businessperson, Politician, Diplomat
    • Age: Dec. at 95 (1891-1986)
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    Influential or not?