Top 10 Most Influential People of All Time

The person who has had the largest impact on culture, society and history. Whether positive or negative. These are the people who have had the biggest impact in shaping the world we live in.
The Top Ten
1 Jesus Christ Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, Palestine. He was born to Mary, as the bible says "she was found with child of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 1:18). He was both man and God (John 20:28). According to the bible He is God alone (Deuteronomy 6:4)... read more

Leaders and founders of charismatic movements have a comparative advantage on the scale of influence compared to scientists, politicians, or literary philosophers. The actions and motivations of later individuals can more directly be traced back to the actions and ideas of leaders who are themselves outspoken and charismatic. Thus, the charismatic leaders' influence becomes more readily apparent and well-established.

It's no coincidence that in the current top five are the founders of three of the world's major religions: Jesus (1), Mohammed (2), Buddha (4). Mahatma Gandhi (3) and Adolf Hitler (5) likewise were founders of charismatic movements, the former for peace and the latter for war.

Religion, especially, often serves as a uniquely strong motivating force for a person's actions. Given that 2 out of every 7 people alive today profess Christian faith, and given that Christianity has made significant inroads on every inhabited continent, it is entirely fair to say that the net impact of Jesus Christ has been greater than that of every other person throughout history.

He's also my Lord and Savior, so of course, I voted for him in this ridiculous poll.

2 Muhammad Muhammad ibn Abdullah (570 AD - 632 AD) was an Arab religious, social, and political leader and the founder of the world religion of Islam. According to Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet, divinely inspired to preach and confirm the monotheistic teachings of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets... read more

He was the man of true justice. He offered peace to those who deserved it and respected peace. He stood for law and order, not like some silly baba or pandit who merely utters a few words about peace but doesn't actually guide or show the direction to attain peace in this world and the hereafter. My fellow Christians don't realize that the founder of Christianity is not Jesus. It's St. Paul. No matter how much I love Jesus, the son of Mary (peace be upon him), he can't be the most influential person because he doesn't meet the requirements.

3 Mahatma Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India.

He lived what he taught. What more is there to say? His opponents admired him silently. He inspired millions to march for a common cause. He infused courage and pride into Indian women by leading some of the most important campaigns of the Indian independence movement.

Throughout his life, he advocated for Hindu-Muslim unity and spoke against societal ills in India, such as untouchability. His patience, courage, and ideas behind non-violence are simply admirable.

He is the most remembered and respected personality in the world today. The reservations were the only bad thing he did, but he still inspired many. I hope he inspires you as well. Just take a look at his good deeds.

Even if people remember some bad things, they often don't try to understand the reasons behind them. For example, consider the India-Pakistan partition crisis.

4 Buddha Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha, or simply the Buddha, after the title of Buddha, was an ascetic and sage, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.

Siddhartha left all of his possessions, his pampered life, his food, and even his family to gain true knowledge of suffering and to find enlightenment. I am an anthropologist specializing in religion. The Buddha has influenced many people in China, Tibet, India, Japan, and so on.

This once-rich, famous prince gave up everything he had, becoming a man of the land, and achieved divinity. His followers even engaged in meditation with Jesus himself.

Praise be to Shakyamuni Buddha. If sources are to be believed, his teachings even influenced Jesus Christ. So I believe (although unknown to most) that he is the most positively influential person in history.

He was certainly the father of human rights. His teachings were the first to regard all sentient beings as equals. There would have been no Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela if the Buddha had not set the wheel of compassion and love in motion all those years ago.

5 Albert Einstein Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest and most influential physicists of all time. Einstein is best known for developing the theory of relativity, but he also made important contributions to the development... read more

The greatest man ever. Fools voted for religion. Gandhi is among the most influential people, but he should not be above Einstein, the most influential person of all time.

We can say nothing about him. We are all fools before him. He is the greatest human ever. The world will never see his like again. He should have lived over 100 years. If that had happened, the world would have been even better. Thanks to him.

An influential man, I will certainly remember him. Not just because he shares my birthday, but also because he was a dreamer. Dreamers are hard to find these days.

6 Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin ( 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary biology. His proposition that all species of life have descended from a common ancestor is now widely accepted and considered a fundamental... read more

Darwin came up with the theory of evolution, and I greatly admire him for it, considering he was a Christian. If it weren't for him, I might be a Christian, when I am strongly atheist. The pressure he was under was immense.

He lived in a creationist world. His book, The Origin of Species, was ridiculed, yet he didn't keep his theory hidden for fear of this happening. He showed it to the world and changed the subject of science forever.

Science has answers to many questions about the universe, and Charles Darwin demonstrated this. While we may not yet have answers to everything, we will in the future. Charles Darwin represented that future for the millions of humans who lived before his time and developed his theory. May science continue to emphasize his work.

Religion is often seen as an excuse for why we are here, as anyone could have made it up. In science, there is proof. In religion, there is myth. The fact remains that proof is infinitely greater than myth.

7 Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. (born Michael King Jr.; January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an African American minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. King is best known for advancing civil rights through... read more

He was the most influential American ever. I always imitate him when speaking in public. I am a victim of racism and will always support the civil rights movement. He was the leader of America. If he had been born some years later, I think he would have replaced Obama.

Promoted equality between all people and things. Without him, we may still be stuck with the clouded ideas of "justice" and "fairness" we once had.

I love MLK, but I find it very sad that he was assassinated. Such a loving and caring man who stood up for so many people. He should have at least died peacefully at an old age instead of being murdered by some thug. Rest in peace, MLK, gone but never forgotten.

8 Paul the Apostle Paul the Apostle, commonly known as Saint Paul, and also known by his native name Saul of Tarsus was an apostle who taught the gospel of the Christ to the 1st-century world.

Other than Jesus Christ, Paul is my favorite person in the Bible. He went through so much yet didn't complain at all. He pointed to Christ in every situation. In my opinion, he was the most influential Apostle. The books in the Bible that he wrote provide not only comfort for many but also strength for those who are crumbling under struggles and pressure.

Martin Luther looked to the Apostle Paul as one of his inspirations. So, how did Martin Luther rank above the Apostle Paul? Even though they all lived for the glory of Jesus Christ, I know for a fact that the Apostle Paul is more influential than Martin Luther. If Martin Luther were alive, he'd agree too.

9 Isaac Newton Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist and mathematician who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution.

He's well-known for physics, but he also invented differential and integral calculus, developed color theory, studied the speed of sound, and was an astronomer who built the first reflecting telescope. He was arguably the single most important thinker in human history, contributing to numerous fields.

The whole world follows the laws and theories of Isaac Newton. I feel he should be number one. It's not because I don't love Jesus, but because Newton is followed by literally the whole world, while Jesus, on the other hand, has a smaller majority of the human population. Newton is the basis of all modern science. Even Einstein, at some point, had to apply Newton's principles.

10 Confucius Confucius was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. He is the founder of the religion with the same name as him. Confucius believed he was doing the Will of Ti'en (God or 'Heaven') by preaching ethics.

I am Chinese, and I hope that we will believe in him again, rather than in communism. I am against communism!

There are not many people who think like him.

He is awesome, and even his ideas are too!

The Newcomers

? Aung San Suu Kyi
? John Maynard Keynes
The Contenders
11 Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 - April 30, 1945) was a German politician of Austrian descent who served as the leader of the Nazi Party since 1921, Chancellor of Germany since 1933, and Führer of Nazi Germany since 1934. As dictator of Nazi Germany, he reversed the Treaty of Versailles, initiated World... read more

Are you joking? Is this just an American Idol site? Has there been any hack on this site to vote Hitler this far down? He wasn't any hero at all, for most people at least. He was an Austrian man who tried to conquer the world. In my eyes, he was a moron, but he changed history more than anybody else could.

He is the worst individual of all time. So how could he be rated so low? He showed humanity its darker side. He served as a lesson, teaching us how not to be. If this isn't considered an impact, then what is? Should we remain ignorant and never learn from history?

Hitler made us more aware of our humanity, and if he didn't, why are we still living?

12 Constantine I

Without Constantine, there may be no discussion about the merits of Jesus Christ. Constantine helped lay the foundation for what is the modern Catholic Church and was instrumental in organizing its members to determine a uniform Christian doctrine at the First Council of Nicaea. Without this, the church would have fractured and most likely never would have gained the success it did. Whether good or bad, Constantine paved the way for converting the greatest nation the world had ever seen into the center for the Holy Roman Church.

13 Martin Luther Martin Luther was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation.

Is this about Martin Luther, or Martin Luther King Jr.? Martin Luther is the Christian reformationist, and Martin Luther King Jr. is the campaigner for black rights in the USA. Considering the lack of 'King' after the name, it seems most people are ignorant of the original Martin Luther.

The original Martin Luther is probably the reason Martin Luther King Jr.'s parents named him Martin Luther, and probably also the reason his father was named Martin Luther as well (Martin Luther King Sr.).

For those of you who are confused, no, this is not about Martin Luther King Jr., the man who gave the "I Have a Dream" speech. Although he is very important and an inspiration to me and millions of others, Martin Luther was a monk and the creator of Lutheranism. Born in Germany, he lived from 1483 to 1546. Martin Luther was also a composer, theology professor, and priest, but he's mostly known as a monk.

14 Abraham Abraham, originally Abram, is the first of the three biblical patriarchs. His story, told in chapters 11 through 25 of the Book of Genesis, plays a prominent role as an example of faith in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. According to the bible, God called upon him and told him 'through your son, Isaac,... read more

This great man built a huge, box-like building in the middle of a desert that still stands today. Over a billion people face it to pray five times a day, every day, for all their lives. Great prophet of God. Peace be upon Abraham.

Without Abraham, there would be no Jesus. Jesus himself was Jewish, and he was the first to establish a monotheistic religion, setting an example for the rest of the world. He definitely should be higher.

The original monotheist, whose theological foundation has spread to the entire world through Christianity and Islam, should be much higher up.

15 Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American lawyer and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War and succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery,... read more

Are you serious? As a white Australian, I still rate him as the number one. This is the man who brought equality to everyone without consideration for himself. We would be so lucky to have a leader half his worth in this world again. Look at the list above. It's a list written by people with no vision or respect!

"That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish on this earth."
"Trusting in Him who can go with me and remain with you, I confidently hope that all will yet be well."
"I am a firm believer in the people. If given accurate information, they can be relied upon to meet any national crisis."

16 Michael Jackson Michael Jackson (Michael Joseph Jackson; August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter. He passed away from cardiac arrest caused by a propofol and benzodiazepine overdose on June 25, 2009. He donated (at least) a remarkable 500,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael... read more

His musical genius and humble humanitarian work place him among the greats. It's not about what you do for a living, but what you've done for others that will matter in the end. Michael has helped so many people outside of his charity work.

He's truly a role model and a hero. The way Michael faced betrayal and adversity while showing love and true class is why he is loved all across the globe and is truly one of the most influential individuals. Long live the King!

He is the King of Pop, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and won the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year. He is the greatest music artist of all time.

17 Nelson Mandela Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid activist who served as the first president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government... read more

Nelson Mandela is amazing! My family is African, and we had to leave Africa because of apartheid. Just as we left, he got out of prison. I'm so proud of my country now because of what he has done, and even today he brings great happiness to my family.

A selfless leader, modest, popular, and yet a down-to-earth global icon who paid most of his attention to the people he led. "Suffer little children," thus the Mandela Children's Fund came into being. He's one African who walked the talk.

He is the father of reconciliation in our country. He led the ANC post-apartheid and became the first black president. Over 100 heads of states attended his memorial service, which shows how influential and powerful he was, not only in South Africa but in the rest of the world.

18 Aristotle Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist born in the city of Stagira, Chalkidice, on the northern periphery of Classical Greece.

A massive contributor to every field of human knowledge, Aristotle started from nearly nothing and ended up as the near-sole basis of all science for almost two thousand years. He was possibly the only person in human history to have known everything there was to know in his time. He was a true polymath. His metaphysics still hold clear merit in the modern world, and much of how we see and separate the sciences is derived from him.

The basis of many scientific theories and philosophies comes from Aristotle. Along with his direct contribution to history as the teacher of Alexander the Great, he also served as an inspiration to other philosophers and scientists such as René Descartes.

19 Napoleon Bonaparte Napoléon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the Revolutionary Wars.

I am just going to say that this man spread democracy throughout Europe. If it wasn't for him, Europe would still be a continent ruled by absolute monarchy. Stop right there and just think about it. In his time, there was legitimately no other country besides the U.S. that was a democracy. This man also spread the idea of equality.

A French statesman and king of France, he was the most brilliant general of his time. He won a series of splendid victories against England, Russia, and Austria in 1805. However, he was defeated in the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 and was exiled to St. Helena, where he died in 1821.

20 Joseph Lister
21 Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin (January 6, 1706 – April 17, 1790) was an American polymath who was active as a writer, scientist, inventor, statesman, diplomat, printer, publisher, and political philosopher. Among the leading intellectuals of his time, Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States,... read more
22 George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732– December 14, 1799) was an American military officer, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continental Congress as commander of the Continental Army, Washington led the Patriot... read more

Thanks to him, we have America. And how much has America given us? Well, they are one of the largest economies, one of the largest militaries, with huge influence over other countries.

He was a general of the US Army and unanimously elected president. How is that not important and influential?

23 Max Planck Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck was a German quantum physicist who was born on April 23, 1858 in Kiel, Germany. He is best known for winning a Nobel prize on the field of physics in 1918 and he published his own well known book called treatise on thermodynamics. His accomplishments was for being elected... read more

The founder of quantum mechanics should definitely be number one, without any question of any kind.

24 Justinian I

He developed the foundation of our law system today.

25 Dwayne Johnson Dwayne Douglas Johnson, also known by his ring name The Rock, is an American and Canadian actor, producer and semi-retired professional wrestler, signed with WWE.
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