Famous 18th Century American Leaders

Find out more about the greatest 18th Century American Leaders, including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and James Madison

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 George Washington

George Washington
71
Famous As: First president of the United States
Birthdate: February 2, 1732
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Westmoreland County, Virginia, United States
Died: December 14, 1799

America’s first president, George Washington led the country with integrity, firmness and prudence that made him one of the greatest presidents in American history. He became a national hero before assuming presidency, when he led the Continental Army to victory against the British during the American Revolution.

 2 Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
72
Famous As: 3rd President of the United States
Birthdate: April 13, 1743
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shadwell, Virginia, United States
Died: July 4, 1826

The 2nd Vice President and the 3rd President of America, Thomas Jefferson was one of the Founding Fathers of USA and the principal draftsman of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was a staunch advocate of democracy and a strong believer of individual rights and religious freedom, despite the fact that he himself owned nearly 600 slaves.

 3 Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton
91
Famous As: Founding Father of the United States
Birthdate: January 11, 1755
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Charlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Died: July 12, 1804

Known as America’s one of the most influential Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and served as the first secretary of the treasury. He also fought in the American Revolutionary War and was considered as a leading votary of the strong central government.

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 4 Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
26
Famous As: Founding Father of the United States
Birthdate: January 17, 1706
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Milk Street, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 17, 1790

Benjamin Franklin is considered one of the founding fathers of the United States as he was a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He was a writer, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, an accomplished diplomat and much more. He is a key figure in the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity.

 5 John Adams

John Adams
46
Famous As: 2nd President of United States (1797-1801)
Birthdate: October 30, 1735
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Braintree, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 4, 1826

One of the Founding Fathers of America, John Adams was a statesman, attorney, and diplomat who served as the second president of the United States. He was a principal leader of the American Revolution. As a lawyer, he was devoted to the right to counsel and presumption of innocence. His administration has been favorably ranked by historians and scholars.

 6 James Madison

James Madison
20
Famous As: 4th President of the United States (1809-1817)
Birthdate: March 16, 1751
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Port Conway, Virginia, United States
Died: June 28, 1836

James Madison played an important role in drafting the US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights and is hailed as the Father of the Constitution. He also co-wrote The Federalist Papers, considered to be a seminal work of political science. As president, he led the country into the 1812 war and historians place him as an above-average president.

 7 John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams
28
Famous As: 6th President of United States (1825-1829)
Birthdate: June 11, 1767
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Braintree, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 23, 1848

The sixth president of the United States of America John Quincy Adams played a key role in shaping America during its formative years. He helped develop the Monroe Doctrine, which eventually became a vital tenet of the U.S. foreign policy. He is also widely regarded as one of the greatest secretaries of state and diplomats in the American history.

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 8 William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison
23
Famous As: 9th President of the United States (1841)
Birthdate: February 9, 1773
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, United States
Died: April 4, 1841

The ninth president of the US, William Henry Harrison died 31 days into his presidential term, becoming the shortest-serving US president ever. His demise caused a brief constitutional crisis pertaining to the succession to the presidency. Subsequently, Vice President John Tyler became the new president, setting an important precedent in terms of transfer of the presidency in such situations.

 9 Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett
7
Birthdate: August 17, 1786
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Greene County
Died: March 6, 1836
American folk hero Davy Crockett, or the "King of the Wild Frontier,” was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee and part of the Texas Revolution. He opposed the Indian Removal Act. He was killed by the Mexican army the Battle of the Alamo.

 10 Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor
22
Famous As: 12th President of United States
Birthdate: November 24, 1784
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barboursville, Virginia, United States
Died: June 30, 1850
Zachary Taylor was the 12th U.S. president, from March 1849 till his death in July 1850, thus spending just 16 months in office. His heroism in the Mexican–American War had earned him the title of major general. A novice in political affairs, he was the last president who owned slaves.

 11 James K. Polk

James K. Polk
10
Birthdate: November 2, 1795
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pineville
Died: June 15, 1849

The 11th president of the United States, James K. Polk was an advocate of Jacksonian democracy. He is credited with extending the territory of the US during the Mexican–American War. During his presidency, the US annexed the Mexican Cession, the Oregon Territory, and the Republic of Texas.

 12 James Monroe

James Monroe
9
Famous As: 5th President of the United States
Birthdate: April 28, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Monroe Hall, Virginia, United States
Died: July 4, 1831

James Monroe, a Founding Father of the U.S., served as the American president from 1817 to 1825. He opposed European colonialism and issued the Monroe Doctrine. He had also been a U.S. secretary of state, the Virginia governor, a U.S. Senate member, and the American ambassador to Britain and France.

 13 Paul Revere

Paul Revere
9
Famous As: Silversmith, Revolutionary
Birthdate: January 1, 1735
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 10, 1818
Paul Revere was a silversmith from Boston and a Patriot in the American Revolution who is remembered for alerting his fellow Patriots, during a midnight ride, about the approaching British forces prior to the battles of Lexington and Concord. He remains immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem Paul Revere's Ride.

 14 Sam Houston

Sam Houston
4
Famous As: Former Governor of Texas
Birthdate: March 2, 1793
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rockbridge County, Virginia
Died: July 26, 1863
Sam Houston was the governor of Texas from 1859 to 1861. He was also the senator from Texas, the President of the Republic of Texas, and the governor of Tennessee. As part of the Texan Army, he won the Battle of San Jacinto. The city Houston is named after him.

 15 John C. Calhoun

John C. Calhoun
6
Famous As: 7th Vice President of the U.S.A
Birthdate: March 18, 1782
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Abbeville
Died: March 31, 1850

John C. Calhoun was an American political theorist and statesman. From 1825 to 1832, he served as the seventh vice president of the US. Before becoming the vice president, Calhoun served as secretary of war, a position which he used to modernize and reorganize the United States Department of War. He was played by Arliss Howard in the film Amistad.

 16 John Hancock

John Hancock
5
Famous As: Former President of the Continental Congress
Birthdate: January 23, 1737
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Quincy, Province of Massachusetts Bay
Died: October 8, 1793

Merchant and statesman, John Hancock, served as the president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776, owing to this position. A rich man, he used his wealth to support the colonial cause during the American Revolution. He also used his influence to ratify the United States Constitution in 1788.

 17 John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones
5
Famous As: Scottish American Sailor
Birthdate: July 6, 1747
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kirkcudbrightshire
Died: July 18, 1792
John Paul Jones was an American Revolutionary War naval commander. Named the Father of the American Navy, he was part of the Continental Navy against the Kingdom of Great Britain. He later joined the Imperial Russian Navy and became a rear admiral. His life later inspired an Alexandre Dumas novel.

 18 Tecumseh

Tecumseh
7
Famous As: Native American Leader
Birthdate: February 29, 1768
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Scioto River, near Chillicothe, Ohio
Died: October 5, 1813

Tecumseh was a Shawnee chief, diplomat, orator, and warrior. He is best known for promoting resistance to the United States' expansion onto Native American lands. He also promoted tribal unity and is credited with forming a Native American confederacy. He died trying to unite Native Americans and is considered an iconic folk hero in Canadian, Indigenous, and American history.

 19 James Buchanan

James Buchanan
23
Famous As: 15th U.S. President
Birthdate: April 23, 1791
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cove Gap
Died: June 1, 1868

James Buchanan was a prominent American lawyer who served as the 15th president of the United States. He is often criticized for failing to address the issue of slavery and is consistently ranked among America's worst presidents. His life and work inspired the 2019 film Raising Buchanan in which he was played by René Auberjonois.

 20 Henry Clay

Henry Clay
6
Famous As: Political Leader
Birthdate: April 12, 1777
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hanover County, Virginia, United States
Died: June 29, 1852

Henry Clay was an American statesman who represented Kentucky in the US House of Representatives as well as US Senate. Considered one of the most important political figures of his era, Clay helped found the Whig Party and the National Republican Party. He is also considered one of the greatest speakers in the history of the US House of Representatives.

 21 Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry
8
Famous As: 5th & 6th Governor of Virginia, Orator, Revolutionary leader, Prominent promoter of American Revolution and Independence
Birthdate: May 29, 1736
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hanover County, Virginia
Died: June 6, 1799

A significant figure of the American Revolution, Patrick Henry was the first governor of post-colonial Virginia. A skilled orator, he is remembered for his iconic words “Give me liberty or give me death!” He excelled as a lawyer and gained fame with his win in the Parson's Cause.

 22 Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams
12
Famous As: Founding Father of the United States
Birthdate: September 27, 1722
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 2, 1803
Samuel Adams, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, also served as the governor of Massachusetts. Samuel formed the Boston Tea Party and also played a major role in drafting the Articles of Confederation and the Massachusetts Constitution. He was a second cousin of President John Adams.

 23 Daniel Webster

Daniel Webster
4
Famous As: Former United States Senator
Birthdate: January 18, 1782
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Salisbury, New Hampshire, United States
Died: October 24, 1852

 24 Meriwether Lewis

Meriwether Lewis
4
Famous As: Explorer, Politician
Birthdate: August 18, 1774
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ivy, Colony of Virginia
Died: October 11, 1809

Best known for his exploration of the Pacific Northwest and Oregon, Meriwether Lewis led the legendary Lewis and Clark Expedition. He had also been the governor of Louisiana. His mysterious death at age 35, due to gunshot wounds, sparked a huge debate on whether it was a murder or a suicide.

 25 George Clinton

George Clinton
4
Famous As: Fourth Vice President of the U.S.A
Birthdate: July 26, 1739
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Little Britain, New York, United States
Died: April 20, 1812

George Clinton is one of the pioneers of funk music. He initially released multiple hits with the collective Parliament-Funkadelic and then launched a solo career with the album Computer Games and the singles Loopzilla and Atomic Dog. He has also lent his voice to the TV movie Freaknik: The Musical.

 26 Chief Seattle

Chief Seattle
4
Birthdate: 1780 AD
Birthplace: Blake Island
Died: June 7, 1866
Chief Seattle was a Suquamish and Duwamish chief who was a close friend of David Swinson "Doc" Maynard and is remembered for his amicable relationship with the white settlers. The city of Seattle was named after him. He is widely known for his speech on Native American land rights.

 27 Kazimierz Pułaski

Kazimierz Pułaski
5
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: March 6, 1745
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: October 11, 1779

Kazimierz Pułaski was a Polish nobleman, military commander, and soldier. Dubbed the father of the American cavalry, Pulaski is credited with creating the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reorganizing the American cavalry. He played an important role in the American Revolutionary War and is remembered for fighting for the independence of Poland and the United States.

 28 Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold
21
Famous As: American Revolutionary War General
Birthdate: January 14, 1741
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Norwich, Connecticut, United States
Died: June 14, 1801

Benedict Arnold was an American military officer who betrayed his country when he joined the British forces in 1780. Because of his betrayal, his name became synonymous with traitory in the United States. His story of betrayal has been depicted in popular culture and he has been portrayed by actors like Owain Yeoman and Ciarán Owens.

 29 Benjamin Tallmadge

Benjamin Tallmadge
4
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: February 25, 1754
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: East Setauket, Brookhaven, New York, United States
Died: March 7, 1835

 30 Philip John Schuyler

Philip John Schuyler
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 20, 1733
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States
Died: November 18, 1804

 31 Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben
9
Famous As: Military Officer
Birthdate: September 17, 1730
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Magdeburg, Germany
Died: November 28, 1794
At a time when homosexuality was illegal, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was openly gay. The Prussian military officer and hero of the American Revolutionary War, reportedly had a romantic relationship with his fellow military man Benjamin Walker. He is also known as someone who singlehandedly trained the Continental Army.

 32 George Mason

George Mason
3
Famous As: Patriot, U.S. Statesman
Birthdate: December 11, 1725
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Fairfax County, Virginia
Died: October 7, 1792

 33 Nathanael Greene

Nathanael Greene
3
Famous As: Military Commander
Birthdate: August 7, 1742
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Potowomut, Rhode Island, United States
Died: June 19, 1786

 34 Aaron Burr

Aaron Burr
48
Famous As: 3rd Vice President of United States
Birthdate: February 6, 1756
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: September 14, 1836

A soldier, lawyer and one of the founding Fathers of America, Aaron Burr rose to become the third Vice president of the United States. His turbulent political career, which included bitter rivalry with Alexander Hamilton, concluded when he mortally wounded Hamilton in a duel and was later charged with treason.

 35 Charles Evans Hughes

Charles Evans Hughes
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 11, 1862
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Glens Falls, New York, U.S.
Died: August 27, 1948

 36 Ethan Allen

Ethan Allen
5
Famous As: Revolutionary War Hero
Birthdate: January 21, 1738
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Litchfield, Connecticut
Died: February 12, 1789

As a child, Ethan Allen was fond of deciphering passages from the Bible. He grew up to co-establish Vermont and led the Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolutionary War. After failing to achieve Vermont’s separation from New York, he tried to unite Vermont with Canada.

 37 Miriam Ferguson

Miriam Ferguson
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 13, 1875
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bell County, Texas, U.S.
Died: June 25, 1961

 38 Henry Knox

Henry Knox
3
Famous As: Former United States Secretary of War
Birthdate: July 25, 1750
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 25, 1806

 39 Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Rush
3
Birthdate: January 4, 1746
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: April 19, 1813

 40 Anthony Wayne

Anthony Wayne
3
Birthdate: January 1, 1745
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Easttown Township, Pennsylvania
Died: December 15, 1796

 41 Henry Lee III

Henry Lee III
3
Famous As: Governor
Birthdate: January 29, 1756
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Leesylvania, near Dumfries, Prince William County, Colony of Virginia, British America
Died: March 25, 1818

 42 Horatio Gates

Horatio Gates
4
Famous As: Army General
Birthdate: July 26, 1727
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Maldon, England
Died: April 10, 1806

 43 Denmark Vesey

Denmark Vesey
7
Famous As: Carpenters
Birthdate: 1767 AD
Birthplace: Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Died: July 2, 1822

Sold as a slave in childhood, Denmark Vesey adopted the surname of his master. He later purchased his freedom with the money he had won in a lottery. Earning a living as a carpenter, he simultaneously launched a slave rebellion and planned a coup but was eventually hanged to death.

 44 Thaddeus Stevens

Thaddeus Stevens
4
Famous As: Former United States Representative
Birthdate: April 4, 1792
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Danville
Died: August 11, 1868
Thaddeus Stevens was member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania and a Radical Republican leader. He played a major role in ending slavery and chaired the House Ways and Means Committee during the American Civil War. He was also known for ill-treating the ex-Confederates during Reconstruction.

 45 Elbridge Gerry

Elbridge Gerry
3
Famous As: Former Vice President of the United States
Birthdate: July 17, 1744
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Marblehead
Died: November 23, 1814

 46 Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
3
Famous As: Founding Father of the United States
Birthdate: January 29, 1737
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Thetford, England
Died: June 8, 1809

English-born American political activist, philosopher, and revolutionary, Thomas Paine, is credited to have penned some of the most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution. His works inspired the common people of America and motivated them to fight for independence from British rule. He was ostracized for criticizing Christianity and died a lonely man.

 47 Samuel Chase

Samuel Chase
3
Famous As: Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Birthdate: April 17, 1741
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Somerset County
Died: June 19, 1811

Samuel Chase was one of the founding fathers of the USA. From 1796 to 1811, he served as the Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He was also a signatory to the United States Declaration of Independence.

 48 Roger Sherman

Roger Sherman
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 19, 1721
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newton, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 23, 1793

 49 Joseph Warren

Joseph Warren
3
Famous As: Physician, Military Leader
Birthdate: June 11, 1741
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: June 17, 1775

 50 Stephen Austin

Stephen Austin
8
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 3, 1793
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Austinville, Virginia
Died: December 27, 1836

Stephen Austin, also known as the Father of Texas, was born to a lead-mining businessman in Missouri who later bought a piece of land from the Mexican government. Austin developed the land and mediated between American and Mexican people for control over it, eventually leading to the Texas Revolution.