Famous 19th Century American Leaders

Find out more about the greatest 19th Century American Leaders, including Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Woodrow Wilson.

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

Vote for Your Favourite 19th Century American Leaders

 1 
Alexander Hamilton
(Founding Father of the United States)

Alexander Hamilton
105
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.

 2 
Theodore Roosevelt
(26th President of the United States (1901-1909))

Theodore Roosevelt
89
Birthdate: October 27, 1858
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York, United States
Died: January 6, 1919

The 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt is generally ranked as one of the five best presidents of the country. A man of many talents, he was a politician, conservationist, naturalist, and writer. He supported  Progressive Era policies in the early 20th century and championed his "Square Deal" domestic policies.

 3 
Robert E. Lee
(Confederate General in the American Civil War)

Robert E. Lee
56
Birthdate: January 19, 1807
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stratford, Virginia, United States
Died: October 12, 1870

A commander of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, Robert E. Lee commanded the Army of Northern Virginia. He was a skilled tactician who served in the US Army for 32 years. Brilliant from a young age, he was a top graduate of the US Military Academy. In his later years, he became president of Washington College.

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 4 
Stonewall Jackson
(Military leader)

Stonewall Jackson
24
Birthdate: January 21, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clarksburg, West Virginia, United States
Died: May 10, 1863

Stonewall Jackson was a commander of the Confederate States Army. He played a major role as a Confederate general in the American Civil War, winning several significant battles in the Eastern Theater of the war. Considered one of the most tactically sound commanders in the history of the US, Jackson was idolized by George Patton, Chesty Puller, and Alexander Vandegrift.

 5 
William Tecumseh Sherman
(Former Commanding General of the United States Army)

William Tecumseh Sherman
18
Birthdate: February 8, 1820
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lancaster, Ohio, United States
Died: February 14, 1891
William Tecumseh Sherman served as the Union Army general during the American Civil War. He is best remembered for his “scorched earth” military policy and was known as "the first modern general.” His 1875 book Memoir, related his war experiences. He was associated with wildlife conservation in his later years.

 6 
John J. Pershing
(Military officer)

John J. Pershing
13
Birthdate: September 13, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Laclede, Missouri, United States
Died: July 15, 1948

John J. Pershing was a senior United States Army officer who served as the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I. In his later years, he mentored generals who led the United States Army during World War II.  He was promoted to General of the Armies rank, the highest possible rank in the United States Army. 

 7 
Abraham Lincoln
(16th President of the United States (1861-1865))

Abraham Lincoln
83
Birthdate: February 12, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Larue County, Kentucky, United States
Died: April 15, 1865

A self-educated lawyer, Abraham Lincoln rose from modest background to become one of the greatest presidents of America. The 16th president of the country, who is also known as Honest Abe and the Great Emancipator, played a crucial role in establishing a truly democratic government, abolished slavery, modernised economy and led the country during the American Civil War.

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 8 
Thomas Jefferson
(3rd President of the United States)

Thomas Jefferson
80
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.

 9 
William Halsey Jr.
(Military officer)

William Halsey Jr.
5
Birthdate: October 30, 1882
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States
Died: August 16, 1959

 10 
Ulysses S. Grant
(18th President of the United States)

Ulysses S. Grant
45
Birthdate: April 27, 1822
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Point Pleasant, Ohio, United States
Died: July 23, 1885

The 18th president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant held office from 1869 to 1877. He led the Union Army as Commanding General of the United States Army during the American Civil War and was a war hero. As president, he stabilized the post-war national economy and created the Department of Justice. Historians generally recognize his presidential accomplishments.

 11 
John Adams
(2nd President of United States (1797-1801))

John Adams
48
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.

 12 
Nathan Bedford Forrest
(Confederate general during American Civil War)

Nathan Bedford Forrest
13
Birthdate: July 13, 1821
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bedford County, Tennessee, United States
Died: October 29, 1877
Nathan Bedford Forrest, or the "Wizard of the Saddle", served as a Confederate general during the American Civil War. He was charged with war crimes at the Battle of Fort Pillow, where his forces killed Black prisoners of war. He was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

 13 
Andrew Jackson
(President of the United States (1829 – 1837))

Andrew Jackson
67
Birthdate: March 15, 1767
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Waxhaws
Died: June 8, 1845

Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of USA. His presidential reign has been termed as Jacksonian democracy and witnessed the shift of political power from established elites to ordinary voters. Coming from humble beginnings, Jackson knew the struggle of the masses and thus, worked towards creating a more inclusive country.  His picture has been featured on the front side of $20 bill since 1928.

 14 
James Madison
(4th President of The United States)

James Madison
22
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.

 15 
P. T. Barnum
(Businessman, Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut (1875 – 76))

P. T.  Barnum
5
Birthdate: July 5, 1810
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bethel, Connecticut, United States
Died: April 7, 1891

P. T. Barnum was an American politician, showman, and businessman. He is credited with founding the famous Barnum & Bailey Circus, which ran for 146 years. He is also credited with co-founding the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, which is one of the oldest American ferry companies. His life and work have inspired many films, including The Greatest Showman.

 16 
William Howard Taft
(27th President of the United States)

William Howard Taft
34
Birthdate: September 15, 1857
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: March 8, 1930

The 27th president of the United States, William Howard Taft also served as the tenth Chief Justice of the US; he is the only person in the history of the US to have held both the offices. He had a great impact as chief justice and has been regarded as the greatest US chief justices of all time.

 17 
Calvin Coolidge
(30th President of the United States)

Calvin Coolidge
20
Birthdate: July 4, 1872
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Plymouth, Vermont, United States
Died: January 5, 1933

The 30th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge started his career as a lawyer before becoming an influential American politician. A man of few words with a dry sense of humor, Calvin Coolidge represented the middle class, which worked in his favor. Despite being a reclusive politician, Coolidge gave 520 press conferences, making himself available to reporters quite often.

 18 
Herbert Hoover
(31st President of the United States)

Herbert Hoover
34
Birthdate: August 10, 1874
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Branch, Iowa, United States
Died: October 20, 1964

The 31st president of the United States, Herbert Hoover, was sworn into the office in 1929, the year the Great Depression struck the American economy. Earlier, Hoover was a successful mining engineer and had earned a reputation of a humanitarian who fed numerous Europeans during and after WWI. His policies during the depression, though, could not provide relief to people.

 19 
James A. Garfield
(20th President of the United States (1881))

James A. Garfield
20
Birthdate: November 19, 1831
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moreland Hills, Ohio, United States
Died: September 19, 1881

The 20th president of the United States, James A. Garfield began his career as an attorney. Born into poverty, he struggled throughout his childhood and youth to become a respected lawyer. He eventually entered politics and rose through the ranks to be elected the president. Unfortunately, he was assassinated less than seven months after he took office.

 20 
William McKinley
(25th President of the United States)

William McKinley
22
Birthdate: January 29, 1843
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Niles, Ohio, United States
Died: September 14, 1901

The 25th President of the United States, William McKinley led America to victory in the Spanish-American War. During his presidency, he played a major role in promoting American industry by raising protective tariffs, which in turn boosted the country's economic growth. He also played a key role in the American Civil War.

 21 
Grover Cleveland
(22nd and 24th President of the United States)

Grover Cleveland
33
Birthdate: March 18, 1837
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Caldwell, New Jersey, United States
Died: June 24, 1908

Grover Cleveland, a Democratic Party member, was the President of the United States from 1885 to 1889 and then again from 1893 to 1897. He is known for his campaign for political reform and fiscal conservatism. However, he was unable to deal with the economic depression in his second term as President, which led to massive decline in his popularity.

 22 
Jefferson Davis
(Former President of the Confederate States of America)

Jefferson Davis
9
Birthdate: June 3, 1808
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fairview, Kentucky, United States
Died: December 6, 1889

Jefferson Davis was the president of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865. He was also the U.S. secretary of war and had fought in the Mexican–American War earlier. He was against secession. He wrote an autobiography named The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.

 23 
Davy Crockett
(U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee (1827-31, 1833-35))

Davy Crockett
8
Birthdate: August 17, 1786
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Limestone, Tennessee, United States
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.

 24 
William Henry Harrison
(9th President of the United States (1841))

William Henry Harrison
25
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.

 25 
Zachary Taylor
(12th President of United States)

Zachary Taylor
23
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.

 26 
John Tyler
(10th President of the United States)

John Tyler
15
Birthdate: March 29, 1790
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Charles City, Virginia, United States
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.

 27 
Martin Van Buren
(8th President of the United States (1837-1841))

Martin Van Buren
16
Birthdate: December 5, 1782
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kinderhook, New York, United States
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.

 28 
Woodrow Wilson
(28th President of the United States)

Woodrow Wilson
65
Birthdate: December 28, 1856
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Staunton, Virginia, United States
Died: February 3, 1924

From presidential cabin of Princeton University to presidential office of the White House, Woodrow Wilson ushered a series of progressive reforms that changed the American politics forever. The 28th President of USA, Woodrow Wilson introduced several ground-breaking policies including the Federal Reserve Act. He played a key role in founding the first intergovernmental organisation—the League of Nations—for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

 29 
Benjamin Harrison
(23rd President of the United States)

Benjamin Harrison
12
Birthdate: August 20, 1833
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: North Bend, Ohio, United States
Died: March 13, 1901

Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd U.S. President and is remembered for his efforts to pass the McKinley Tariff and the Sherman Antitrust Act. A qualified lawyer, he was the great-grandson of Benjamin Harrison V. Known for strengthening the Navy, he also attempted to secure the voting rights of African–Americans.

Booker T. Washington
4
Birthdate: April 5, 1856
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Westlake Corner, Virginia, United States
Died: November 14, 1915
Booker T. Washington was born into slavery but rose to be an advisor to many U.S. presidents and also became the director of the Tuskegee Institute. His Atlanta Compromise, initially accepted and later rejected by black leaders, urged the blacks to work for their freedom through education and not revolt.

 31 
James K. Polk
(President of the United States (1845-49))

James K. Polk
11
Birthdate: November 2, 1795
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pineville, North Carolina, United States
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.

 32 
James Monroe
(5th President of the United States)

James Monroe
10
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.

 33 
Chester A. Arthur
(21st President of the United States)

Chester A. Arthur
14
Birthdate: October 5, 1829
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fairfield, Vermont, United States
Died: November 18, 1886
Chester A. Arthur became the 21st president of the U.S. in 1881, after the assassination of President James A. Garfield, and served till 1885. Arthur represented Elizabeth Jennings Graham in the 1854 case against segregation in streetcars. He signed the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act and rebuilt the U.S. Navy.

 34 
Sitting Bull
(Warrior)

Sitting Bull
7
Birthdate: 1831 AD
Birthplace: Grand River
Died: December 15, 1890
Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull is symbolic of the Native American resistance against the U.S. government. After the Battle of the Little Bighorn, he surrendered and performed at Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. The U.S. government, fearing he might join the Ghost Dance Movement, killed him during an attempted arrest.

 35 
Geronimo
(Leader)

Geronimo
6
Birthdate: June 16, 1829
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Arizpe Municipality, Mexico
Died: February 17, 1909
Native American hero Geronimo is remembered for his heroics in the Apache Wars against the U.S. and Mexico. After his surrender in 1886, he lived as a U.S. prisoner of war and spent the rest of his life being exhibited at various events and selling his belongings for money.

 36 
Paul Revere
(Silversmith, Revolutionary)

Paul Revere
10
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.

 37 
Rutherford B. Hayes
(President of the United States (1877-81))

Rutherford B. Hayes
10
Birthdate: October 4, 1822
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Delaware, Ohio, United States
Died: January 17, 1893
Rutherford B. Hayes served as the U.S. president from 1877 to 1881. He won a close election through the Compromise of 1877, thus putting an end to Reconstruction and withdrawing troops from the South. An attorney, he owned several law firms and had also served as the Ohio governor. 

 38 
David Farragut
(Military officer)

David Farragut
4
Birthdate: July 5, 1801
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Farragut, Tennessee, United States
Died: August 14, 1870

 39 
Millard Fillmore
(13th President of the United States)

Millard Fillmore
11
Birthdate: January 7, 1800
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Summer Hill, New York, United States
Died: March 8, 1874
Millard Fillmore was the U.S. president from 1850 to 1853, succeeding Zachary Taylor after his death. The last Whig U.S. president, Fillmore had previously been a representative from New York’s 32nd District and the U.S. vice president. He played a crucial role in the passage of the Compromise of 1850.

 40 
Sam Houston
(Governor of Texas (1859-61))

Sam Houston
6
Birthdate: March 2, 1793
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rockbridge County, Virginia, United States
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.

 41 
Huey Long
(Politician)

Huey Long
9
Birthdate: August 30, 1893
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Winnfield
Died: September 10, 1935
Huey Long, also known as "The Kingfish,” was the governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and then a Louisiana senator from 1932 to 1935. Though he supported Franklin D. Roosevelt initially, he fell out with him later over the New Deal, proposing the Share Our Wealth movement instead.

 42 
Warren G. Harding
(29th President of the United States)

Warren G. Harding
26
Birthdate: November 2, 1865
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Blooming Grove, Ohio, United States
Died: August 2, 1923

The 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding assumed office in 1921 shortly after the end of WWI and became very popular. He died in 1923 while still in office. Later, various scandals that occured during his presidency were uncovered and his image suffered a serious setback. His presidency is today ranked amongst the worst in the American history.

 43 
Tecumseh
(Native American Leader, Shawnee chief)

Tecumseh
7
Birthdate: November 2, 1865, 1768
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ohio, United States
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.

 44 
William Randolph Hearst
(Newspaper Baron)

William Randolph Hearst
10
Birthdate: April 29, 1863
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: August 14, 1951

William Randolph Hearst was an American newspaper publisher, businessman, and politician. He is credited with developing America's largest newspaper chain, Hearst Communications. Today, Hearst Communications has grown into a multinational business information and mass media conglomerate. William Randolph Hearst’s life and work inspired the creation of Charles Foster Kane, the main character in the 1941 drama film, Citizen Kane.

 45 
Raymond A. Spruance
(Navy admiral during World War II)

Raymond A. Spruance
5
Birthdate: July 3, 1886
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: December 13, 1969

 46 
William Jennings Bryan
(41st United States Secretary of State (1913-15))

William Jennings Bryan
8
Birthdate: March 19, 1860
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Salem, Illinois, United States
Died: July 26, 1925
William Jennings Bryan had served as the U.S. secretary of state under President Woodrow Wilson and had also been the U.S. representative from Nebraska's 1st district. He ran for president thrice, though unsuccessfully. He also banned the teaching of evolution in schools, leading to the Scopes Monkey Trial.

 47 
Billy Mitchell
(Military General)

Billy Mitchell
8
Birthdate: December 29, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: February 19, 1936

 48 
Matthew Ridgway
(Military officer)

Matthew Ridgway
3
Birthdate: March 3, 1895
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hampton, Virginia, United States
Died: July 26, 1993

 49 
John Jay
(1st Chief Justice of the United States (1789-1795))

John Jay
5
Birthdate: December 12, 1745
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: May 17, 1829

One of the Founding Fathers of the United States who signed the famous Paris Treaty, John Jay was best known as the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, although he occupied various other important public positions. He was a diplomat, who shaped his country’s foreign policy. He passed legislation to gradually abolish slavery, but he himself owned five enslaved people.

 50 
Kit Carson
(Explorer & Soldier)

Kit Carson
6
Birthdate: December 24, 1809
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Madison County
Died: May 23, 1868

A frontiersman and a fur-trapper, Kit Carson played a major role in the US’s westward expansion. Mostly known for guiding explorer John C. Frémont, he was criticized for his contribution to the displacement of native Americans as an Indian agent. He became part of folk legend for his exploits as a fighter, too.