18th Century Leaders

Find out more about the greatest 18th Century 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.
50
Famous As: First U.S. President
Birthdate: February 22, 1732
Sun Sign: Pisces
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 Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte.
30
Famous As: Emperor of the French
Birthdate: August 15, 1769
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ajaccio
Died: May 5, 1821
French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as the French emperor from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He strengthened France’s position in Europe through the Napoleonic Wars and extended his kingdom. However, he was eventually defeated by the Seventh Coalition at the Battle of Waterloo and sent to exile. 
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 3 Simon Bolivar

Simon Bolivar.
11
Famous As: Revolutionary & Military Leader
Birthdate: July 24, 1783
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Caracas, Venezuela
Died: December 17, 1830
After losing his parents as a child, Simon Bolivar also lost his Spanish wife to yellow fever later and thus decided to devote himself to politics. He was the first president of Gran Colombia and Bolivia, and also led Peru and Venezuela in their fight for freedom, against Spain.

 4 Horatio Nelson

Horatio Nelson.
7
Famous As: Admiral
Birthdate: September 29, 1758
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burnham Thorpe
Died: October 21, 1805

Horatio Nelson was a British flag officer whose inspirational leadership brought about several British naval victories, especially during the Napoleonic Wars. Regarded as one of Britain's heroic figures, Horatio Nelson's legacy remains influential and several monuments, including the Nelson Monument and Nelson's Column, have been created in his memory.

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 5 Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton.
85
Famous As: Founding Father of the USA, Political Philosopher
Birthdate: January 11, 1755
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nevis, British West Indies
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.

 6 Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin.
20
Famous As: Founding Father of the United States
Birthdate: January 17, 1706
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: 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.

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 7 Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great.
23
Famous As: Empress of Russia
Birthdate: May 2, 1729
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Szczecin, Poland
Died: November 17, 1796

The Empress of Russia for almost 35 years, Catherine the Great was the country's longest-ruling female leader. An ambitious ruler, she rapidly expanded the Russian Empire and is credited with modernizing the country along Western European lines. She supported the ideals of the Enlightenment and the period of her rule—the Catherinian Era—is considered the Golden Age of Russia.

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 8 James Madison

James Madison.
19
Famous As: 4th President of the United States
Birthdate: March 16, 1751
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Port Conway
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.

 9 John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams.
25
Famous As: 6th U.S. President
Birthdate: July 11, 1767
Sun Sign: Cancer
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.

 10 John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.
5
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: May 26, 1650
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ash, Musbury
Died: June 16, 1722

 11 Marquis de Lafayette

Marquis de Lafayette.
14
Famous As: French Aristocrat and Military Leader
Birthdate: September 6, 1757
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chavaniac, France
Died: May 20, 1834

Marquis de Lafayette was a French aristocrat and military officer, who  is remembered for fighting in the American Revolutionary War, as the commander of American troops in several battles. After returning to France, he played key roles in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830. Considered a hero in both America and France, he advocated the end of slavery.  

 12 William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison.
20
Birthdate: February 9, 1773
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Charles City County
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.

 13 Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett.
6
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.

 14 Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor.
21
Famous As: Military Leader and the 12th President of United States
Birthdate: November 24, 1784
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barboursville, Virginia, U.S.
Died: July 9, 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.

 15 John Tyler

John Tyler.
14
Famous As: 10th U.S. President
Birthdate: March 29, 1790
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Charles City County
Died: January 18, 1862

The tenth president of the United States, John Tyler was dubbed His Accidency as he became the president after the sudden death of President William Henry Harrison when the former was serving as the vice president. Tyler's acceptance of full presidential powers set a prominent precedent and served as a model for succession to the future presidents.

 16 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.

 17 Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren.
15
Birthdate: December 5, 1782
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kinderhook
Died: July 24, 1862

Martin Van Buren was an American statesman credited with co-founding the Democratic Party, one of the world's oldest and contemporary political parties. He served as the eighth president of the US and later became a prominent anti-slavery abolitionist leader. He also played a key role in forming the two-party system in the US.

 18 Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette.
15
Famous As: Queen of France
Birthdate: November 2, 1755
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: The Hofburg, Vienna, Austria
Died: October 16, 1793
The last queen of France before the French Revolution started, Marie Antoinette was married to Louis XVI of France and came to be linked with everything that was wrong with the French monarchy including ignorance and extravagance. Her policies aggravated unrest that eventually led to the abolishment of the monarchy and finally the execution of both king and queen.

 19 James Monroe

James Monroe.
8
Famous As: Fifth President of the USA
Birthdate: April 28, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Monroe Hall, Virginia
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.

 20 Paul Revere

Paul Revere.
8
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: January 1, 1735
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: North End
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.

 21 Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.
6
Famous As: Former First Lord of the Treasury of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: May 1, 1769
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: September 14, 1852
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, served as the British prime minister twice. He also served as the governor of Seringapatam and Mysore, and won the Battle of Assaye. He led the Hundred Days War and along with the Prussian army, won the Battle of Waterloo, defeating Napoleon.

 22 Frederick The Great

Frederick The Great.
4
Famous As: King of Prussia
Birthdate: January 24, 1712
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: August 17, 1786
Prussian king Frederick II, also known as Frederick the Great and The Old Fritz, was the longest-reigning Hohenzollern king. He is known for his involvement in the Silesian Wars and the Partitions of Poland. He also supported art and culture, and reformed the judicial system of Prussia.

 23 Louis XIV of France

Louis XIV of France.
10
Famous As: King of France
Birthdate: September 5, 1638
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
Died: September 1, 1715

Louis XIV of France reigned as the King of France from 1643 to 1715. Louis XIV is the longest-reigning monarch of a sovereign country in the history of Europe. Under his rule, France often asserted its military prowess and emerged as the most dominant European monarchy. His life inspired several films, such as The Taking of Power by Louis XIV.

 24 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.

 25 Maximilien de Robespierre

Maximilien de Robespierre.
6
Famous As: Influential Figure of the French Revolution
Birthdate: May 6, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Arras, France
Died: July 28, 1794
Maximilien de Robespierre was a leading left-wing lawyer and leader during the Reign of Terror. He led the Committee of Public Safety and was part of the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club. He was accused of establishing a dictatorship and was guillotined in 1794, thus beginning the Thermidorian Reaction.

 26 Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
6
Famous As: Founder of the Sikh Empire
Birthdate: November 13, 1780
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gujranwala
Died: June 27, 1839
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, also known as the "Lion of Punjab" and the “Napoleon of the East,” was a Sikh leader who reigned over the northwest Indian subcontinent in the 19th century. He fought valiantly against the Afghans and introduced many modern reforms. His Khalsa Army included people of all religions.

 27 John C. Calhoun

John C. Calhoun.
5
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.

 28 Shaka

Shaka.
5
Famous As: Zulu Emperor
Birthdate: 1787 AD
Birthplace: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Died: September 22, 1828

Widely regarded as one of the most influential and important monarchs of the Zulu Kingdom, Shaka reigned as the king of the Zulu Kingdom from 1816 to 1828. Through a series of influential and wide-reaching reforms, Shaka was able to re-organize the Zulu military into a formidable force. His life and work inspired the 1986 South African TV series, Shaka Zulu.

 29 William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce.
4
Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: August 24, 1759
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kingston upon Hull
Died: July 29, 1833
William Wilberforce, an independent MP from Yorkshire, was a champion for the British anti-slavery movement and made a significant contribution to the passage of the 1807 Slave Trade Act and the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act. He supported missionaries in India, founded the Church Mission Society, and was against animal cruelty.

 30 John Hancock

John Hancock.
4
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.

 31 Maria Theresa

Maria Theresa.
6
Famous As: Queen regnant
Birthdate: May 13, 1717
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hofburg Palace
Died: November 29, 1780

The mother of 16 children, Maria Theresa was the only female monarch of the Habsburg empire which she ruled with absolute power. She was known for industrial and educational reforms which led to the development of Austria during her 40-year reign. The devout Roman Catholic, who overtly disliked Jews and the Protestants, was sometimes criticized for her religious intolerance.

 

 32 Toussaint Louverture

Toussaint Louverture.
4
Famous As: Leader of the Haitian Revolution
Birthdate: May 20, 1743
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint-Dominigue (present day Haiti)
Died: April 7, 1803

Haitian general,  Toussaint Louverture, was the most prominent leader of the Haitian Revolution. A revolutionary leader, he was devoted to the cause of Haitian independence and fought hard until he was killed by the French in a treacherous manner. The revolution continued after his death, leading to Haiti’s independence. He is now known as the Father of Haiti.

 33 John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones.
4
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.

 34 Tecumseh

Tecumseh.
6
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.

 35 James Buchanan

James Buchanan.
22
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.

 36 Henry Clay

Henry Clay.
5
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.

 37 Qianlong Emperor

Qianlong Emperor.
5
Famous As: Emperor of China
Birthdate: September 25, 1711
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lama Temple, Beijing, China
Died: February 7, 1799
The Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty was the fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor and reigned over China from 1735 to 1796. Known for the economic prosperity and military prowess his kingdom gained under his rule, he continued to indirectly rule as the Retired Emperor even after his abdication.

 38 Robert Peel

Robert Peel.
4
Famous As: Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: February 5, 1788
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ramsbottom
Died: July 2, 1850

Statesman Robert Peel had been the prime minister of the U.K twice. He was also a two-time home secretary. He established the Metropolitan Police Service and also introduced the Tamworth Manifesto, thus co-founding the modern Conservative Party. He died of injuries after a horse he was riding fell on him.

 39 Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams.
10
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.

 40 Charles Edward Stuart

Charles Edward Stuart.
9
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: December 31, 1720
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Palazzo Muti, Rome
Died: January 31, 1788
Charles Edward Stuart, also known as "The Young Pretender” and “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” was the son of Prince James, and the grandson of James II. He is best remembered for his role in the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, and his subsequent failure, which became the subject of many folk songs.

 41 Louis XVI of France

Louis XVI of France.
4
Famous As: King of France
Birthdate: August 23, 1754
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Palace of Versailles, France
Died: January 21, 1793

Louis XVI of France reigned as the last king of France from 1774 to 1792 before the French Revolution, which ended the monarchy in France. During his reign, Louis made attempts to remove land and labor tax, abolish serfdom, and improve tolerance toward non-Catholics. However, the proposed reforms were opposed by the French nobility.

 42 Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry.
7
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.

 43 William Pitt the Younger

William Pitt the Younger.
4
Famous As: Youngest Prime Minister of Britain
Birthdate: May 28, 1759
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hayes, Bromley
Died: January 23, 1806

British statesman, William Pitt the Younger, became the youngest prime minister of Great Britain in 1783 when he was just 24. During his stint as the prime minister, he was also Chancellor of the Exchequer. Several major political events,  including the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, happened during his tenure.  He is ranked highly among all British Prime Ministers.

 44 Baji Rao I

Baji Rao I.
9
Famous As: Peshwa of Maratha Empire
Birthdate: August 18, 1700
Sun Sign: Leo
Died: April 28, 1740

Baji Rao I was a peshwa, or chief minister, of the Maratha empire in India. His conquests led a massive blow to the Mughal Empire. In spite of being married to Kashibai, he took a second wife, half-Muslim Mastani, a story that was retold in several movies later.

 45 Philip V of Spain

Philip V of Spain.
4
Famous As: King of Spain
Birthdate: December 19, 1683
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Palace of Versailles, France
Died: July 9, 1746

Philip V reigned as the king of Spain from November 1700 to January 1724, and again from September 1724 to 1746. Philip introduced the centralization of monarchy and imposed the Nueva Planta decrees. Philip's accession initiated the 13-year War of the Spanish Succession. His final years were marred by depression.

 46 Antonio López de Santa Anna

Antonio López de Santa Anna
9
Famous As: Politician, Officer, Military personnel
Birthdate: February 21, 1794
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Xalapa
Died: June 21, 1876

 47 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

 48 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

 49 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.

 50 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.