According to The Atlantic Monthly, these are the most influential people in American history.

  1. Abraham Lincoln - He saved the Union, freed the slaves, and presided over America’s second founding.
  2. George Washington - He made the United States possible—not only by defeating a king, but by declining to become one himself.
  3. Thomas Jefferson - The author of the five most important words in American history: “All men are created equal.”
  4. Franklin Delano Roosevelt - He said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and then he proved it.
  5. Alexander Hamilton - Soldier, banker, and political scientist, he set in motion an agrarian nation’s transformation into an industrial power.
  6. Benjamin Franklin - The Founder-of-all-trades— scientist, printer, writer, diplomat, inventor, and more; like his country, he contained multitudes.
  7. John Marshall - The defining chief justice, he established the Supreme Court as the equal of the other two federal branches.
  8. Martin Luther King Jr. - His dream of racial equality is still elusive, but no one did more to make it real.
  9. Thomas Edison - It wasn’t just the lightbulb; the Wizard of Menlo Park was the most prolific inventor in American history.
  10. Woodrow Wilson - He made the world safe for U.S. interventionism, if not for democracy
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