Famous American Political Activists

Imagine what would life be had it not been for the activists and revolutionaries? Would living today be as same? Would we be free-thinking individuals? Would women have the same status in society that she enjoys today? Would we enjoy democratic rights? Would we have the right to express? Would we have the right of choosing our political representative? Every bit of those and many more are credits of the works of activists who gave their life for the welfare of the society. They were actually progressive individuals who fought against the rules set by the governing bodies to make the society a better place to live in. Their line of thought mostly goes contradictory to the then current system of belief and it is on this challenging path that they tread on, to define new rules and change the current system. Though America today maybe a superpower and one amongst the most powerful nations of the world, it wasn’t the same all through. In fact, the country dealt with its own challenges and difficulties. The political system of the country underwent numerous changes and much of it was brought about by political activists, some of the prominent ones include James Baldwin, Fred Hampton, Angela Davies, Ralph Nader, Sherman Austin and so on. Read through this section and find in details about the life and works of America political activists.

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 Helen Keller

Helen Keller.
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 27, 1880
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tuscumbia, Alabama, United States
Died: June 1, 1968

A prolific author, having written 12 published books and several articles, Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her autobiography, The Story of My Life, made Keller famous and was adapted for film and stage. She was also an activist and campaigned for women's suffrage, labour rights, socialism and other such causes.

 2 Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman.
4
Famous As: Abolitionist
Birthdate: February 29, 1822
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dorchester County, Maryland, United States
Died: March 10, 1913

Born to parents who were bonded slaves, Harriet Tubman life was a difficult one from the very beginning. Yet with her remarkable courage and determination, she not only escaped slavery herself, but also led other enslaved people to freedom. The prominent political activist and abolitionist was also the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the American Civil War.

 3 Fran Drescher

Fran Drescher.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 30, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kew Gardens, New York, United States

Fran Drescher is an American actress and comedian. Characterized by her thick New York accent and nasal voice, Fran Drescher serves as an inspiration to many cancer patients as she successfully fought off the disease after suffering from uterine cancer. She is also an outspoken LGBT rights activist and healthcare advocate.

 4 Bradley Whitford

Bradley Whitford.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 10, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Best known as Josh Lyman from The West Wing, Bradley Whitford is a Juilliard-trained and Primetime Emmy-winning actor. Also known for his roles in series such as The Mentalist and movies such as Billy Madison, he also launched the charity Clothes off Our Back, which mostly donates to children’s non-profits.

 5 Angela Davis

Angela Davis.
6
Famous As: Political Activist
Birthdate: January 26, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Birmingham

Activist, philosopher, academic and author, Angela Davis is a founding member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS). She has worked in the areas of feminism, class, race and the US prison system. She has also received criticism for supporting the erstwhile Soviet Union and has been accused of supporting political violence.

 6 Abbie Hoffman

Abbie Hoffman.
6
Famous As: Anti-War Activist
Birthdate: November 30, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Worcester
Died: April 12, 1989

The co-founder of the Youth International Party, Abbie Hoffman was an American social and political activist. A popular exponent of the Flower Power movement, Abbie Hoffman played a major role in the events leading up to the violent confrontations with the cops during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He remains an iconic figure of the counterculture era.

 7 Alfre Woodard

Alfre Woodard.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 8, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Alfre Woodard is an American actress. Considered one of the most accomplished and versatile actresses of her generation, Woodard was named in The New York Times' The 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century list in 2020. Also a political activist, Woodard is credited with founding Artists for a New South Africa, which aims at advancing equality in South Africa.

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 8 Rick Harrison

Rick Harrison.
4
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: March 22, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ladywood High School, Livonia, Michigan, United States
Rick Harrison, co-owner of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, shot to fame with the History Channel show Pawn Stars. His memoir, License to Pawn, became a New York Times bestseller. Named the National Pawnbrokers Association’s 2010 Pawnbroker of the Year, he also appeared on the game show Pawnography

 9 Tom Hayden

Tom Hayden.
6
Famous As: Political Activist
Birthdate: December 11, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Royal Oak, Michigan
Died: October 23, 2016

Tom Hayden was a prominent social/political activist, and a champion for civil rights and anti-war campaigns. Also known as Jane Fonda’s ex-husband, he had contributed to the Port Huron Statement and stood trial in the Chicago Seven Case. He was part of the California State Assembly and the California Senate.

 10 Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader.
4
Famous As: Political Activist, Attorney
Birthdate: February 27, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Winsted, Connecticut, U.S
Ralph Nader’s book Unsafe at Any Speed was his critique of the safety measures of U.S. automobile manufacturers. His activism has led to the passage of acts such as the Consumer Product Safety Act. One of Time’s 100 Most Influential Americans, he inspired the documentary An Unreasonable Man

 11 Michael Moore

Michael Moore.
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Famous As: Documentary Filmmaker
Birthdate: April 23, 1954
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Flint, Michigan, United States
Michael Moore is best known for his documentaries that criticize right-wing politicians and capitalism. He won an Academy Award for Bowling for Columbine, and the Palme d'Or for Fahrenheit 9/11, which was also the highest-grossing U.S. documentary of all time. He has also created Sicko and The Awful Truth.

 12 Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly
4
Famous As: Radio personality, Lawyer, Political activist, Journalist
Birthdate: August 15, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: St. Louis
Died: September 5, 2016

American attorney and author Phyllis Schlafly was a major figure of paleoconservativism and was against feminism, LGBT rights, and abortion. She was also behind the STOP ERA campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment, and her life and times were portrayed in the series Mrs. America, which had Cate Blanchett playing her.

 13 Mike Farrell

Mike Farrell.
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 6, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Paul, Minnesota

Mike Farrell is an American actor known for playing, Captain B.J. Hunnicutt, in the popular war comedy-drama TV series, M*A*S*H. Farrell's journey from being born into a working-class family to becoming a famous Hollywood actor is quite inspiring. Also a political and social activist, Farrell has worked on several activist campaigns. In 2001, he was honored with PETA's Humanitarian Award.

 14 Bobby Seale

Bobby Seale
6
Famous As: Political Activist
Birthdate: October 22, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liberty, Texas Liberty, Texas, United States

 15 Omarosa Manigault

Omarosa Manigault
4
Famous As: Writers
Birthdate: February 15, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Youngstown, Ohio, United States

 16 Norman Lear

Norman Lear.
6
Famous As: Television Writer
Birthdate: July 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States

TV writer and producer Norman Lear is best known for producing hit sitcoms such as All in the Family, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, and Sanford and Son. He is also part of the Malibu Mafia and a liberal activist. He also established People for the American Way.

 17 Dennis Weaver

Dennis Weaver.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 4, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Joplin, Missouri, United States
Died: February 24, 2006
Dennis Weaver is best known as Chester Goode/Proudfoot from Gunsmoke and as Deputy Marshal Sam McCloud from McCloud. He initially ran track and field, but his failure to qualify for the U.S. Olympic decathlon team made him join films. He had also been the president of the Screen Actors Guild.

 18 Kennedy Montgomery

Kennedy Montgomery.
4
Famous As: Commentator
Birthdate: September 8, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Political commentator and host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, began her career as MTV VJ “Kennedy” on the alternative rock shows 120 Minutes and Alternative Nation. She has authored two books and has also hosted Fox network shows such as Kennedy and Outnumbered. She has also been a panelist on The Five.

 19 Stephen Stills

Stephen Stills
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 3, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States

 20 Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman.
4
Famous As: Political activist
Birthdate: June 7, 1869
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kaunas, Lithuania
Died: May 4, 1940

Emma Goldman was a writer and anarchist political activist. She played an important role in popularizing the anarchist political philosophy in Europe and North America in the early and mid-20th century. Her lectures and writing spanned a wide variety of subjects, such as atheism, militarism, freedom of speech, homosexuality, capitalism, and free love.

 21 Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd.
4
Famous As: Actress, Political activist
Birthdate: April 19, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Granada Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States

Ashley Judd is a popular American actress who is vocal about topics, such as sexual assault. As a three-time rape survivor—as claimed by her—Ashley serves as an inspiration to rape survivors around the world. Known for her humanitarian work, Ashley has worked on gender equality for over a decade. She is also famous for her political activities.

 22 Melissa Mathison

Melissa Mathison.
4
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: June 3, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: November 4, 2015

Melissa Mathison was a screenwriter and an activist for the Tibetan independence movement. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, for a while but quit before graduating. She was acquainted with Francis Ford Coppola who encouraged her to pursue a screenwriting career. She was once married to actor, Harrison Ford, and had two children.

 23 Laura Loomer

Laura Loomer
4
Famous As: Political Activist
Birthdate: May 21, 1993
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: North Miami, Florida, USA

 24 Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 9, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

One of the most popular African American politicians of the U.S., Democratic Party member Stacey Abrams is also the founder of the non-profit Fair Fight Action. A voting rights activist and a minority leader, she became the first Black woman to win the gubernatorial nomination of any state in the U.S.

 25 Dick Durbin

Dick Durbin
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: East St. Louis, Illinois, USA

 26 Saul Alinsky

Saul Alinsky.
6
Famous As: Community Organizer
Birthdate: January 30, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: June 12, 1972

 27 James Brady

James Brady
5
Famous As: White House Press Secretary
Birthdate: August 29, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Centralia, Illinois, USA
Died: August 4, 2014

 28 Andrea Tantaros

Andrea Tantaros.
5
Famous As: Political Analyst
Birthdate: December 30, 1978
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States

 29 Will Geer

Will Geer.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 9, 1902
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Frankfort, Indiana, United States
Died: April 22, 1978
Actor and social activist Will Geer actively participated in the labor movements of the the 1930s and 1940s in New York and Southern California. He traveled across the U.S. with singer Woody Guthrie, during the Great Depression. Hollywood blacklisted him as a result of his leftist activities.

 30 Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag.
5
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 16, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: December 28, 2004
Susan Sontag is best known for her essay anthologies such as Against Interpretation and her novels such as In America. She wrote about diverse issues such as human rights, photography, AIDS, and leftist beliefs, and also visited war-torn areas. The National Book Award-winning author was also openly bisexual. 

 31 Katie Pavlich

Katie Pavlich.
3
Famous As: Commentator
Birthdate: July 10, 1988
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Arizona, United States

Katie Pavlich is an American author, podcaster, blogger, and conservative commentator. A Fox News contributor, Pavlich has been an alternate co-host for shows like The Five and has appeared on local and national radio shows on channels, such as CNN, CNBC, and Fox News. In 2014, she was named Woman of the Year by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.

 32 Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 13, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
Died: May 2, 2009

 33 Lori Lightfoot

Lori Lightfoot
6
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: August 4, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Massillon, Ohio, United States

 34 Jane Addams

Jane Addams.
3
Birthdate: September 6, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cedarville, Illinois, U.S.
Died: May 21, 1935

 35 Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
3
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: September 13, 1887
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, USA
Died: July 12, 1944

 36 Rosario Dawson

Rosario Dawson.
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 9, 1979
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City

A popular actress, producer, and activist, Rosario Dawson is known as much for her involvement in politics and philanthropy as for her work in films and television. A strong supporter of various charitable organizations, such as One Campaign and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Rosario came out as member of the LGBT community in 2020.

 37 Brooke Smith

Brooke Smith.
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 22, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Brooke Smith is an American actress known for playing important roles in popular TV series like Grey's Anatomy and Bates Motel. An actress who is vocal about matters such as politics, Brooke Smith spoke at an Open the Debates rally in 2008, opposing the Commission on Presidential Debates' decision to exclude third party candidates' presidential debates from being aired nationally.

 38 Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham
11
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 9, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Central, South Carolina, United States

 39 Betty Ford

Betty Ford.
5
Famous As: Former First Lady of the United States
Birthdate: April 8, 1918
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: July 8, 2011

Betty Ford served as the First Lady of the US from 1974 to 1977. One of the most popular First Ladies in history, Ford was a passionate supporter of abortion rights and worked towards raising breast cancer awareness. She commented on topics like sex, drugs, abortion, and equal pay. In 1991, she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 40 Jim Webb

Jim Webb
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 9, 1946
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Joseph, Missouri, USA

 41 Barbara Boxer

Barbara Boxer
5
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 11, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

 42 Steve Schmidt

Steve Schmidt
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 28, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: North Plainfield, New Jersey, United States

 43 Gennifer Flowers

Gennifer Flowers
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 24, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

 44 Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
6
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 27, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Queens, New York City, New York, USA

 45 Katrina Pierson

Katrina Pierson
3
Famous As: Political Activists
Birthdate: July 20, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kansas, USA

 46 Prescott Bush

Prescott Bush
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 15, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, USA
Died: October 8, 1972

 47 Howard Dean

Howard Dean
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Famous As: Former Governor of Vermont
Birthdate: November 17, 1948
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: East Hampton, New York, USA

 48 Ed Markey

Ed Markey
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 11, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Malden, Massachusetts, USA

 49 Elizabeth Dole

Elizabeth Dole
5
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 29, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Salisbury, North Carolina, USA

 50 Robert Ryan

Robert Ryan
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 11, 1909
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: July 11, 1973