Famous American Leaders

America, the world's foremost military and economic power and a prominent political and cultural force, has been led by several highly efficient and progressive leaders since the time of its emergence as an independent nation in 1776. One of the founding fathers of the United States Of America, George Washington, who led the American Revolution and later served as the country’s first president is without doubt one of the greatest leaders America has ever produced. Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence who later served as the U.S. president is also considered to be one of the most successful U.S. Presidents. While Washington’s and Jefferson’s vision helped to lay the foundation for the nation’s rapid development and emergence as a global superpower, it was another leader Abraham Lincoln who led the country through the chaotic period of the U.S. Civil War and signed the Emancipation Proclamation. America has produced leaders not just in the political arena but also in the social justice movements. Social activist and abolitionist Elizabeth Cady Stanton became a leading figure of the early women's rights movement while activist Martin Luther King Jr. emerged as the leader in the civil rights movement in the U.S. Read on to discover about the life and works of famous American leaders.

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 Barack Obama

Barack Obama
231
Famous As: 44th U.S. President
Birthdate: August 4, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has the distinction of being the first African-American president of the nation. A civil rights attorney and an academic, he has been credited with bringing about a significant improvement in America’s reputation abroad. His efforts to strengthen international diplomacy was recognized with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

 2 John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy
54
Famous As: 35th President of the United States
Birthdate: May 29, 1917
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: November 22, 1963

The 35th President of the United States, John F Kennedy was a charismatic leader who, during his tenure, ably dealt with Cuban missile crisis, proposed public service programmes and lent support to the growing civil rights movement. Before becoming one of the youngest Presidents of the country, he served in the navy, U.S. House of Representatives and the US Senate.

 3 Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
32
Famous As: American President.
Birthdate: February 12, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
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.

 4 Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan
49
Famous As: 40th U.S. President
Birthdate: February 6, 1911
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: June 5, 2004

An actor turned union leader turned politician, Ronald Wilson Reagan served as the 40th president of America. Hailed for his public speaking and communication skills, Reagan is one of the most popular Presidents of USA, mainly due to his ‘America First’ economic policies which led to a decrease in inflation and unemployment rates during his tenure.

 5 George H. W. Bush

George H. W. Bush
55
Famous As: 41st U.S. President
Birthdate: June 12, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: December 1, 2018

The 41st president of the U.S, George H.W. Bush also twice served as the vice president of the country and held various other important political positions before assuming the presidency. During his presidency, he led successful military operation against Panama and Iraq which made him popular, but domestic issues prevented him from winning a second term at the office.

 6 Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt
51
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 30, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: April 12, 1945

 7 George Washington

George Washington
34
Famous As: First U.S. President
Birthdate: February 22, 1732
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
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.

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 8 Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt
28
Famous As: 26th U.S. President
Birthdate: October 27, 1858
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
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.

 9 Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
31
Famous As: 3rd U.S. President
Birthdate: April 13, 1743
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
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.

 10 Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower
22
Famous As: 34th U.S. President
Birthdate: October 14, 1890
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: March 28, 1969

The 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower held office from 1953 to 1961. An army officer During World War II, he was part of many successful operations. He signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and his two terms as president saw widespread economic prosperity in USA. He is ranked high among American presidents.

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 11 Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter
55
Famous As: 39th U.S. President
Birthdate: October 1, 1924
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of USA, is one of the rare Presidents whose legacy continues even after leaving office. He is known as a champion of human rights and a mediator of peace efforts across the world. His humanitarian works earned him the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

 12 Robert F. Kennedy

Robert F. Kennedy
20
Famous As: Brother of President John F. Kennedy
Birthdate: November 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: June 6, 1968

Robert F Kennedy, the brother of the 35th US president John F Kennedy, was a politician who served as US Attorney General and as US Senator. He was known as a civil rights and human rights activist and fought against organised crime and the Mafia. He opposed America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. He was assassinated by a 24-year-old Palestinian.

 13 Gerald R. Ford

Gerald R. Ford
4
Famous As: 38th U.S. President
Birthdate: July 14, 1913
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: December 26, 2006

 14 Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford
22
Famous As: President of the USA
Birthdate: July 14, 1913
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: December 26, 2006

Gerald Ford Jr served as the 38th president of US from August 1974 to January 1977. His 895 day-long stint as the American president is the shortest in US history for any president who did not die in office. In a controversial act, he granted a presidential pardon to his predecessor Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal.

 15 Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman
19
Famous As: 33rd President of the United States
Birthdate: May 8, 1884
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: December 26, 1972

Harry Truman was the US president from 1945 to 1953 and his administration successfully guided the US economy through the post-war challenges. He established the Truman Doctrine to contain Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War. He authorised the first and only use of nuclear weapons during a war when he sanctioned bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

 16 Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz
24
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 22, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

Ted Cruz is the US Senator from Texas since 2013. He also made a bid for the presidential office in 2016 when he threw in his hat for the nominee from the Republican party but ended as a runner-up and later on endorsed the Republican party candidate Donald Trump, who was ultimately elected President. 

 17 Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon
50
Famous As: 37th President of the United States
Birthdate: January 9, 1913
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: April 22, 1994

Richard Nixon is the only American president in the history so far to resign from the office. His name is synonymous with the infamous Watergate scandal which led to his resignation. But his regime saw several positives too, such as end to the U.S involvement in the Vietnam War, improvement in the relationship with Soviet Union and China, and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.

 18 Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley
30
Famous As: Governor of South Carolina
Birthdate: January 20, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

Born to Indian immigrant parents, Nikki Haley went on to become the first Indian-American to hold an office in South Carolina and later became its governor—the first woman and second Indian American to be appointed governor in the US. A published author, she has also served as the US ambassador to the United Nations.

 19 Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson
21
Famous As: 7th President of the United States
Birthdate: March 15, 1767
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
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.

 20 John Adams

John Adams
15
Famous As: 2nd U.S. President
Birthdate: October 30, 1735
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
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.

 21 Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant
13
Famous As: 18th U.S. President
Birthdate: April 27, 1822
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
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.

 22 Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson
19
Famous As: 28th U.S. President
Birthdate: December 28, 1856
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
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.

 23 Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin
43
Famous As: Former Governor of Alaska
Birthdate: February 11, 1964
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

In 2006, American politician Sarah Palin became the youngest and first female governor of Alaska. A couple of years later, she became the first Republican woman to become a vice presidential candidate. After resigning as the governor of Alaska, she got associated with Fox News, authored a number of books and also appeared in a reality television series. 

 24 Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover
4
Famous As: 31st U.S. President
Birthdate: August 10, 1874
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
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.

 25 James Madison

James Madison
2
Famous As: 4th President of the United States
Birthdate: March 16, 1751
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
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.

 26 Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt
4
Famous As: Former First Lady of the United States
Birthdate: October 11, 1884
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: November 7, 1962

Feminist and civil rights icon Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the longest-serving U.S First Lady. She was a prominent human rights activist, wrote columns, and hosted a radio show. She was named to Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century in 1999.

 27 Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson - 17 President of the United States of America From April 15, 1865 to March 4, 1869
4
Famous As: 17th U.S. President
Birthdate: December 29, 1808
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: July 31, 1875

The 17th president of the United States, Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency while serving as the vice president when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Born in poverty, Andrew Johnson did not attend school. However, he worked his way up to become a prominent politician—an inspiring story indeed!

 28 John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams
7
Birthdate: July 11, 1767
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
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.

 29 George S. Patton

George Smith Patton, Jr.
0
Famous As: General
Birthdate: November 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: December 21, 1945

 30 Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo
21
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 30, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

 31 Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbard
27
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 12, 1981
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 32 William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft
13
Famous As: President of the U.S.A
Birthdate: September 15, 1857
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
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.

 33 Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur
0
Birthdate: January 26, 1880
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: April 5, 1964
American five-star general Douglas MacArthur was the field marshal of the Philippine Army. He and his father were the first father-son duo to win the Medal of Honor. after World War II, he became the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Japan and contributed to Japan’s reconstruction.

 34 Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio
2
Famous As: U.S. Senator from Florida
Birthdate: May 28, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

Florida senator Marco Rubio also chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Small Business Committee. He was chosen to state the Republican response to Barack Obama's 2013 State of the Union Address. He has immense support from the Republican Tea Party activists and caters mostly to Latin American voters.

 35 William McKinley

William McKinley
4
Famous As: President of the U.S.A
Birthdate: January 29, 1843
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
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.

 36 James A. Garfield

James A. Garfield
4
Famous As: President of the U.S.A
Birthdate: November 19, 1831
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
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.

 37 Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge
4
Famous As: President of the U.S.A
Birthdate: July 4, 1872
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
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.

 38 Rand Paul

Rand Paul
7
Famous As: US Senator
Birthdate: January 7, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

The son of former U.S. Representative Ron Paul, Rand Paul is currently the junior US Senator from Kentucky. Also a physician, he started practising ophthalmology in 1993 and has his own clinic. After recovering from the coronavirus disease, he started volunteering at a hospital. As a politician, he has focused on criminal justice reform.

 39 Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee
10
Famous As: Confederate General in the American Civil War
Birthdate: January 19, 1807
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
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.

 40 Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland
15
Famous As: President of the U.S.A
Birthdate: March 18, 1837
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
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.

 41 Warren G. Harding

Warren G. Harding
8
Famous As: President of the U.S
Birthdate: November 2, 1865
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
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.

 42 Steve Mnuchin

Steve Mnuchin
2
Famous As: Banker
Birthdate: December 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

 43 William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison
9
Birthdate: February 9, 1773
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
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.

 44 James Buchanan

James Buchanan
4
Famous As: 15th U.S. President
Birthdate: April 23, 1791
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
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.

 45 Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor
4
Famous As: Military Leader and the 12th President of United States
Birthdate: November 24, 1784
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
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.

 46 Spiro Agnew

Spiro Agnew
0
Famous As: 39th Vice President of the United States
Birthdate: November 9, 1918
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: September 17, 1996
Spiro Agnew served as the U.S. vice-president under Richard Nixon, from 1969 to 1973; the governor of Maryland; and a Baltimore County executive. In 1973, he was forced to resign due to allegations of bribery, criminal conspiracy, extortion, and tax fraud. He wrote an autobiography and a novel, defending himself.

 47 John Tyler

John Tyler
2
Famous As: 10th U.S. President
Birthdate: March 29, 1790
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
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.

 48 Joseph McCarthy

Joseph McCarthy
2
Birthdate: November 14, 1908
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: May 2, 1957

Joseph McCarthy was an American politician who is remembered for his smear tactics; he falsely accused his adversaries as communists and Soviet spies for his own benefits. The practice of making such accusations of treason came to be known as McCarthyism, a term which is widely used today to refer to unsubstantiated and reckless accusations.

 49 Joseph R. McCarthy

Joseph R. McCarthy
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 14, 1908
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: May 2, 1957

 50 Ron Paul

Ron Paul
9
Birthdate: August 20, 1935
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

Ron Paul is a physician, author, and retired politician who has played an important role in promoting libertarian vision by delivering speeches on American college campuses. A doctor by profession, Ron Paul served in the U.S. Air Force as a flight surgeon from 1963 to 1968. His life and career inspired the 2012 film Ron Paul Uprising.