The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from United States

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This page contains a list of the greatest American Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 19,576 Politicians, 1,409 of which were born in United States. This makes United States the birth place of the most number of Politicians.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary American Politicians of all time. This list of famous American Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of American Politicians.

Photo of Donald Trump

1. Donald Trump (b. 1946)

With an HPI of 92.48, Donald Trump is the most famous American Politician.  His biography has been translated into 237 different languages on wikipedia.

Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American politician, media personality, and businessman who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021. Trump received a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, and his father named him president of his real estate business in 1971. Trump renamed it the Trump Organization and reoriented the company toward building and renovating skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. After a series of business failures in the late twentieth century, he successfully launched side ventures that required little capital, mostly by licensing the Trump name. From 2004 to 2015, he co-produced and hosted the reality television series The Apprentice. He and his businesses have been plaintiff or defendant in more than 4,000 state and federal legal actions, including six business bankruptcies. Trump won the 2016 presidential election as the Republican Party nominee against Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton while losing the popular vote. During the campaign, his political positions were described as populist, protectionist, isolationist, and nationalist. His election and policies sparked numerous protests. He was the first U.S. president with no prior military or government experience. A special counsel investigation established that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election to favor Trump's campaign. Trump promoted conspiracy theories and made many false and misleading statements during his campaigns and presidency, to a degree unprecedented in American politics. Many of his comments and actions have been characterized as racially charged or racist and many as misogynistic. As president, Trump ordered a travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries, diverted military funding toward building a wall on the U.S.–Mexico border, and implemented a policy of family separations for migrants detained at the U.S. border. He weakened environmental protections, rolling back more than 100 environmental policies and regulations. He signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which cut taxes for individuals and businesses and set the financial penalty to nil for the individual health insurance mandate penalty of the Affordable Care Act. He appointed Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. He reacted slowly to the COVID-19 pandemic, ignored or contradicted many recommendations from health officials, used political pressure to interfere with testing efforts, and spread misinformation about unproven treatments. Trump initiated a trade war with China and withdrew the U.S. from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Iran nuclear deal. He met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un three times but made no progress on denuclearization. Trump refused to concede after losing the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden, falsely claiming widespread electoral fraud, and attempted to overturn the results by pressuring government officials, mounting scores of unsuccessful legal challenges, and obstructing the presidential transition. On January 6, 2021, he urged his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol, which many of them then attacked, resulting in multiple deaths and interrupting the electoral vote count. After Trump tried to pressure Ukraine in 2019 to investigate Biden, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached him for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress; the U.S. Senate acquitted him in February 2020. The House impeached him again in January 2021 for incitement of insurrection, making Trump the only American president to have been impeached twice; the Senate acquitted him in February. Scholars and historians rank Trump as one of the worst presidents in American history. Since leaving office, Trump has continued to dominate the Republican Party and is the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election. In 2023, a civil trial jury found that Trump sexually abused E. Jean Carroll. In 2024, a New York state court found Trump liable for financial fraud. Trump is appealing both judgments. He is also indicted in New York on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, in Florida on 40 felony counts related to his mishandling of classified documents, in Washington, D.C., on four felony counts of conspiracy and obstruction for efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and in Georgia on ten charges of racketeering and other felonies committed in an effort to overturn the state's 2020 election results. Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Photo of Thomas Jefferson

2. Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

With an HPI of 89.53, Thomas Jefferson is the 2nd most famous American Politician.  His biography has been translated into 155 different languages.

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. Following the American Revolutionary War and prior to becoming president in 1801, Jefferson was the nation's first U.S. secretary of state under George Washington and then the nation's second vice president under John Adams. During the American Revolution, Jefferson represented Virginia at the Second Continental Congress and served as the second governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781. In 1785, Congress appointed Jefferson U.S. minister to France, where he served from 1785 to 1789. President Washington then appointed Jefferson the nation's first secretary of state, where he served from 1790 to 1793. During this time, in the early 1790s, Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the Federalist Party during the formation of the nation's First Party System. Jefferson and Federalist John Adams became both friends and political rivals. In the 1796 U.S. presidential election between the two, Jefferson came in second, which made him Adams' vice president under the electoral laws of the time. Four years later, in the 1800 presidential election, Jefferson again challenged Adams, and won the presidency. In 1804, Jefferson was reelected overwhelmingly to a second term. As president, Jefferson assertively defended the nation's shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and aggressive British trade policies. Beginning in 1803, he promoted a western expansionist policy with the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the nation's geographic size. To make room for settlement, Jefferson began the process of Indian tribal removal from the newly acquired territory. As a result of peace negotiations with France, Jefferson was able to reduce military forces and expenditures. In his second presidential term, Jefferson was beset by difficulties at home, including the trial of his former vice president Aaron Burr. In 1807, Jefferson implemented the Embargo Act to defend the nation's industries from British threats to U.S. shipping, limiting foreign trade and stimulating the birth of the American manufacturing industry. Presidential scholars and historians generally praise Jefferson's public achievements, including his advocacy of religious freedom and tolerance, his peaceful acquisition of the Louisiana Territory from France, and his leadership in supporting the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Jefferson is consistently ranked among the top ten US presidents, though his relationship with slavery continues to be debated. Jefferson was a slave owner, but condemned the slave trade in his draft of the Declaration of Independence and signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807. Since the 1790s, he was rumored to have had children by his slave Sally Hemings; according to scholarly consensus, Jefferson probably fathered at least six children with Hemings. Jefferson's writings and advocacy for human rights, including freedom of thought, speech, and religion, served as substantial inspirations to the American Revolution and subsequent Revolutionary War in which the Thirteen Colonies succeeded in breaking from British America and establishing the United States as a free and sovereign nation. Jefferson was a leading proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, and produced formative documents and decisions at the state, national, and international levels. Jefferson's writings have been used by proponents of libertarianism to argue in favor of natural rights and small government.

Photo of Jimmy Carter

3. Jimmy Carter (b. 1924)

With an HPI of 88.87, Jimmy Carter is the 3rd most famous American Politician.  His biography has been translated into 153 different languages.

James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician and humanitarian who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party, Carter was the 76th governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975, and a Georgia state senator from 1963 to 1967. At age 99, he is both the oldest living former U.S. president and the longest-lived president in U.S. history. Carter was born and raised in Plains, Georgia. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1946 and joined the U.S. Navy's submarine service. Carter returned home afterward and revived his family's peanut-growing business. He then manifested his opposition to racial segregation, supported the growing civil rights movement, and became an activist within the Democratic Party. He served in the Georgia State Senate from 1963 to 1967 and then as governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. As a dark-horse candidate not well known outside of Georgia, Carter won the Democratic nomination and narrowly defeated the incumbent Republican Party president Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election. Carter pardoned all Vietnam War draft evaders on his second day in office. He created a national energy policy that included conservation, price control, and new technology. Carter successfully pursued the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaties, and the second round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. He also confronted stagflation. His administration established the U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Education. The end of his presidency was marked by the 1979–1981 Iran hostage crisis, the 1979 energy crisis, the Three Mile Island accident, the Nicaraguan Revolution, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In response to the invasion, Carter escalated the Cold War by ending détente, imposing a grain embargo against the Soviets, enunciating the Carter Doctrine, and leading the multinational boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. He lost the 1980 presidential election in a landslide to Ronald Reagan, the Republican nominee. After leaving the presidency, Carter established the Carter Center to promote and expand human rights; in 2002 he received a Nobel Peace Prize for his work related to it. He traveled extensively to conduct peace negotiations, monitor elections, and further the eradication of infectious diseases. Carter is a key figure in the nonprofit housing organization Habitat for Humanity. He has also written numerous books, ranging from political memoirs to poetry, while continuing to comment on global affairs, including two books on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, in which he criticizes Israel's treatment of Palestinians as apartheid. Polls of historians and political scientists generally rank Carter as a below-average president, although both scholars and the public view his post-presidential activities more favorably. At 43 years, Carter's post-presidency is the longest in U.S. history.

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4. Richard Nixon (1913 - 1994)

With an HPI of 88.62, Richard Nixon is the 4th most famous American Politician.  His biography has been translated into 149 different languages.

Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as a representative and senator from California and as the 36th vice president from 1953 to 1961 under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. His presidency saw the reduction of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, détente with the Soviet Union and China, the Apollo 11 Moon landing, and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Nixon's second term ended early when he became the only U.S. president to resign from office, as a result of the Watergate scandal. Nixon was born into a poor family of Quakers in a small town in Southern California. He graduated from Duke Law School in 1937, practiced law in California, and then moved with his wife Pat to Washington, D.C., in 1942 to work for the federal government. After serving active duty in the Naval Reserve during World War II, he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946. His work on the Alger Hiss case established his reputation as a leading anti-communist, which elevated him to national prominence. In 1950, he was elected to the Senate. Nixon was the running mate of Eisenhower, the Republican Party's presidential nominee in the 1952 election, and served for eight years as vice president. He narrowly lost the 1960 presidential election to the Democratic Party nominee John F. Kennedy; after his loss in the 1962 race for governor of California, he announced his retirement from political life. However, in 1968, he made another run for the presidency and defeated the Democratic incumbent vice president Hubert Humphrey. Nixon ended American involvement in Vietnam combat in 1973 and the military draft in the same year. His visit to China in 1972 eventually led to diplomatic relations between the two nations, and he also then concluded the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union. Domestically, Nixon pushed for the Controlled Substances Act and began the war on drugs. Nixon's first term took place at the height of the American environmental movement and enacted many progressive environmental policy shifts; his administration created the Environmental Protection Agency and passed legislation such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Acts. He implemented the ratified Twenty-sixth Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, and enforced the desegregation of Southern schools. Under Nixon, relations with Native Americans improved, seeing an increase in self-determination for Native Americans and his administration rescinded the termination policy. Nixon imposed wage and price controls for 90 days, began the war on cancer, and presided over the Apollo 11 Moon landing, which signaled the end of the Space Race. He was re-elected in 1972, when he defeated Democratic candidate George McGovern in one of the largest landslide victories in American history. In his second term, Nixon ordered an airlift to resupply Israeli losses in the Yom Kippur War, a conflict which led to the oil crisis at home. From 1973, ongoing revelations from the Nixon administration's involvement in Watergate eroded his support in Congress and the country. The scandal began with a break-in at the Democratic National Committee office, ordered by administration officials, and escalated despite cover-up efforts by the Nixon administration, of which he was aware. On August 9, 1974, facing almost certain impeachment and removal from office, Nixon resigned. Afterward, he was issued a controversial pardon by his successor, Gerald Ford. During nearly 20 years of retirement, Nixon wrote ten books and undertook many foreign trips, rehabilitating his image into that of an elder statesman and leading expert on foreign affairs. On April 18, 1994, he suffered a debilitating stroke, and died four days later. Evaluations of his presidency have proven complex, with some contemporaries often regarding Nixon as one of America's worst presidents; others have proven less severe, contrasting his presidency's successes against the circumstances of his departure.

Photo of Andrew Jackson

5. Andrew Jackson (1767 - 1845)

With an HPI of 85.95, Andrew Jackson is the 5th most famous American Politician.  His biography has been translated into 134 different languages.

Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was an American lawyer, planter, general, and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States from 1829 to 1837. Before his presidency, he gained fame as a general in the U.S. Army and served in both houses of the U.S. Congress. Often praised as an advocate for ordinary Americans and for his work in preserving the union of states, Jackson has also been criticized for his racial policies, particularly his treatment of Native Americans. Jackson was born in the colonial Carolinas before the American Revolutionary War. He became a frontier lawyer and married Rachel Donelson Robards. He briefly served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, representing Tennessee. After resigning, he served as a justice on the Tennessee Superior Court from 1798 until 1804. Jackson purchased a property later known as the Hermitage, becoming a wealthy planter who owned hundreds of African-American slaves during his lifetime. In 1801, he was appointed colonel of the Tennessee militia and was elected its commander. He led troops during the Creek War of 1813–1814, winning the Battle of Horseshoe Bend and negotiating the Treaty of Fort Jackson that required the indigenous Creek population to surrender vast tracts of present-day Alabama and Georgia. In the concurrent war against the British, Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 made him a national hero. He later commanded U.S. forces in the First Seminole War, which led to the annexation of Florida from Spain. Jackson briefly served as Florida's first territorial governor before returning to the Senate. He ran for president in 1824. He won a plurality of the popular and electoral vote, but no candidate won the electoral majority. With the help of Henry Clay, the House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams in a contingent election. Jackson's supporters alleged that there was a "corrupt bargain" between Adams and Clay and began creating their own political organization that would eventually become the Democratic Party. Jackson ran again in 1828, defeating Adams in a landslide. In 1830, he signed the Indian Removal Act. This act, which has been described as ethnic cleansing, displaced tens of thousands of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands east of the Mississippi and resulted in thousands of deaths. Jackson faced a challenge to the integrity of the federal union when South Carolina threatened to nullify a high protective tariff set by the federal government. He threatened the use of military force to enforce the tariff, but the crisis was defused when it was amended. In 1832, he vetoed a bill by Congress to reauthorize the Second Bank of the United States, arguing that it was a corrupt institution. After a lengthy struggle, the Bank was dismantled. In 1835, Jackson became the only president to pay off the national debt. He survived the first assassination attempt on a sitting president. In one of his final presidential acts, he recognized the Republic of Texas. After leaving office, Jackson supported the presidencies of Martin Van Buren and James K. Polk, as well as the annexation of Texas. Jackson's legacy remains controversial, and opinions are frequently polarized. Supporters characterize him as a defender of democracy and the Constitution, while critics point to his reputation as a demagogue who ignored the law when it suited him. Jackson's presidency has consistently been ranked as above average, although his reputation has declined since the late 20th century.

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6. Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)

With an HPI of 84.75, Abraham Lincoln is the 6th most famous American Politician.  His biography has been translated into 198 different languages.

Abraham Lincoln ( LING-kən; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American lawyer, politician, and statesman, who served as the 16th president of the United States, from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the United States through the American Civil War, defending the nation as a constitutional union, defeating the insurgent Confederacy, playing a major role in the abolition of slavery, expanding the power of the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy. Lincoln was born into poverty in a log cabin in Kentucky and was raised on the frontier, mainly in Indiana. He was self-educated and became a lawyer, Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator, and U.S. representative from Illinois. In 1849, he returned to his successful law practice in Springfield, Illinois. In 1854, he was angered by the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which opened the territories to slavery, causing him to re-enter politics. He soon became a leader of the new Republican Party. He reached a national audience in the 1858 Senate campaign debates against Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln ran for president in 1860, sweeping the North to gain victory. Pro-slavery elements in the South viewed his election as a threat to slavery, and Southern states began seceding from the nation. During this time, the newly formed Confederate States of America began seizing federal military bases in the South. A little over one month after Lincoln assumed the presidency, Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter, a U.S. fort in South Carolina. Following the bombardment, Lincoln mobilized forces to suppress the rebellion and restore the union. Lincoln, a moderate Republican, had to navigate a contentious array of factions with friends and opponents from both the Democratic and Republican parties. His allies, the War Democrats and the Radical Republicans, demanded harsh treatment of the Southern Confederates. He managed the factions by exploiting their mutual enmity, carefully distributing political patronage, and by appealing to the American people. Anti-war Democrats (called "Copperheads") despised Lincoln, and some irreconcilable pro-Confederate elements went so far as to plot his assassination. His Gettysburg Address came to be seen as one of the greatest and most influential statements of American national purpose. Lincoln closely supervised the strategy and tactics in the war effort, including the selection of generals, and implemented a naval blockade of the South's trade. He suspended habeas corpus in Maryland and elsewhere, and averted British intervention by defusing the Trent Affair. In 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the slaves in the states "in rebellion" to be free. It also directed the Army and Navy to "recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons", and to receive them "into the armed service of the United States." Lincoln pressured border states to outlaw slavery, and he promoted the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery, except as punishment for a crime. Lincoln managed his own successful re-election campaign. He sought to heal the war-torn nation through reconciliation. On April 14, 1865, just five days after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, he was attending a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Mary, when he was fatally shot by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln is remembered as a martyr and a national hero for his wartime leadership and for his efforts to preserve the Union and abolish slavery. Lincoln is often ranked in both popular and scholarly polls as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, president in American history.

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7. Hillary Clinton (b. 1947)

With an HPI of 84.52, Hillary Clinton is the 7th most famous American Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 139 different languages.

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (née Rodham; born October 26, 1947) is an American politician and diplomat who served as the 67th United States secretary of state in the administration of Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013, as a U.S. senator representing New York from 2001 to 2009, and as the first lady of the U.S. to president Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. A member of the Democratic Party, she was the party's nominee in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, becoming the first woman to win a presidential nomination by a major U.S. political party and the first woman to win the popular vote for U.S. president. Raised in Park Ridge, Illinois, Rodham graduated from Wellesley College in 1969 and from Yale Law School in 1973. After serving as a congressional legal counsel, she moved to Arkansas and, in 1975, married Bill Clinton, whom she had met at Yale. In 1977, Clinton co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. She was appointed the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation in 1978 and became the first woman partner at Little Rock's Rose Law Firm the following year. The National Law Journal twice listed her as one of the hundred most influential lawyers in America. Clinton was the first lady of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and again from 1983 to 1992. As the first lady of the U.S., Clinton advocated for healthcare reform. In 1994, her health care plan failed to gain approval from Congress. In 1997 and 1999, Clinton played a leading role in advocating the creation of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act, and the Foster Care Independence Act. She also advocated for gender equality at the 1995 World Conference on Women. In 1998, Clinton's marital relationship came under public scrutiny during the Lewinsky scandal, which led her to issue a statement that reaffirmed her commitment to the marriage. Clinton was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, becoming the first female senator from New York and the first First Lady to simultaneously hold elected office. As a senator, she chaired the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee from 2003 to 2007. She advocated for medical benefits for September 11 first responders. She supported the resolution authorizing the Iraq War in 2002, but opposed the surge of U.S. troops in 2007. Clinton ran for president in 2008, but lost to Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries. After resigning from the Senate to become Obama's secretary of state in 2009, she established the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. She responded to the Arab Spring by advocating the 2011 military intervention in Libya, but was harshly criticized by Republicans for the failure to prevent or adequately respond to the 2012 Benghazi attack. Clinton helped to organize a diplomatic isolation and a regime of international sanctions against Iran in an effort to force it to curtail its nuclear program, which eventually led to the multinational Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2015. The strategic pivot to Asia was a central aspect of her tenure, underscoring the strategic shift in U.S. foreign policy focus from the Middle East and Europe towards Asia. She had a key role in launching the United States Global Health Initiative, which aimed to increase U.S. investment in global public health, including combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Her use of a private email server as secretary was the subject of intense scrutiny; while no charges were filed against Clinton, the email controversy was the single most covered topic during the 2016 presidential election. Clinton made a second presidential run in 2016, winning the Democratic nomination, but losing the general election to Republican opponent Donald Trump in the Electoral College, despite winning the popular vote. Following her loss, she wrote multiple books and launched Onward Together, a political action organization dedicated to fundraising for progressive political groups. Since 2020, she has served as the chancellor of the Queen's University Belfast.

Photo of Andrew Johnson

8. Andrew Johnson (1808 - 1875)

With an HPI of 84.29, Andrew Johnson is the 8th most famous American Politician.  His biography has been translated into 127 different languages.

Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) was an American politician who served as the 17th president of the United States from 1865 to 1869. He assumed the presidency following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, as he was vice president at that time. Johnson was a Democrat who ran with Abraham Lincoln on the National Union Party ticket, coming to office as the Civil War concluded. He favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union without protection for the newly freed people who were formerly enslaved. This led to conflict with the Republican-dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives in 1868. He was acquitted in the Senate by one vote. Johnson was born into poverty and never attended school. He was apprenticed as a tailor and worked in several frontier towns before settling in Greeneville, Tennessee, serving as an alderman and mayor before being elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1835. After briefly serving in the Tennessee Senate, Johnson was elected to the House of Representatives in 1843, where he served five two-year terms. He became governor of Tennessee for four years, and was elected by the legislature to the Senate in 1857. During his congressional service, he sought passage of the Homestead Bill which was enacted soon after he left his Senate seat in 1862. Southern slave states seceded to form the Confederate States of America, including Tennessee, but Johnson remained firmly with the Union. He was the only sitting senator from a Confederate state who did not resign his seat upon learning of his state's secession. In 1862, Lincoln appointed him as Military Governor of Tennessee after most of it had been retaken. In 1864, Johnson was a logical choice as running mate for Lincoln, who wished to send a message of national unity in his re-election campaign, and became vice president after a victorious election in 1864. Johnson implemented his own form of Presidential Reconstruction, a series of proclamations directing the seceded states to hold conventions and elections to reform their civil governments. Southern states returned many of their old leaders and passed Black Codes to deprive the freedmen of many civil liberties, but Congressional Republicans refused to seat legislators from those states and advanced legislation to overrule the Southern actions. Johnson vetoed their bills, and Congressional Republicans overrode him, setting a pattern for the remainder of his presidency. Johnson opposed the Fourteenth Amendment which gave citizenship to former slaves. In 1866, he went on an unprecedented national tour promoting his executive policies, seeking to break Republican opposition. As the conflict grew between the branches of government, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act restricting Johnson's ability to fire Cabinet officials. He persisted in trying to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, but ended up being impeached by the House of Representatives and narrowly avoided conviction in the Senate. He did not win the 1868 Democratic presidential nomination and left office the following year. Johnson returned to Tennessee after his presidency and gained some vindication when he was elected to the Senate in 1875, making him the only president to afterwards serve in the Senate. He died five months into his term. Johnson's strong opposition to federally guaranteed rights for black Americans is widely criticized. Historians have consistently ranked him one of the worst presidents in American history.

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9. Martin Van Buren (1782 - 1862)

With an HPI of 84.24, Martin Van Buren is the 9th most famous American Politician.  His biography has been translated into 130 different languages.

Martin Van Buren ( van BURE-ən; Dutch: Maarten van Buren [ˈmaːrtə(n) vɑm ˈbyːrə(n)] ; December 5, 1782 – July 24, 1862) was an American lawyer, diplomat, and statesman who served as the eighth president of the United States from 1837 to 1841. A primary founder of the Democratic Party, he served as New York's attorney general and U.S. senator, then briefly as the ninth governor of New York before joining Andrew Jackson's administration as the tenth United States secretary of state, minister to Great Britain, and ultimately the eighth vice president when named Jackson's running mate for the 1832 election. Van Buren won the presidency in 1836 against divided Whig opponents. Van Buren lost re-election in 1840, and failed to win the Democratic nomination in 1844. Later in his life, Van Buren emerged as an elder statesman and an important anti-slavery leader who led the Free Soil Party ticket in the 1848 presidential election. Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, New York, where most residents were of Dutch descent and spoke Dutch as their primary language; he is the only president to have spoken English as a second language. Trained as a lawyer, he entered politics as a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, won a seat in the New York State Senate, and was elected to the United States Senate in 1821. As the leader of the Bucktails faction, Van Buren emerged as the most influential politician from New York in the 1820s and established a political machine known as the Albany Regency. He ran successfully for governor of New York to support Andrew Jackson's candidacy in the 1828 presidential election but resigned shortly after Jackson was inaugurated so he could accept appointment as Jackson's secretary of state. In the cabinet, Van Buren was a key Jackson advisor and built the organizational structure for the coalescing Democratic Party. He ultimately resigned to help resolve the Petticoat affair and briefly served as ambassador to Great Britain. At Jackson's behest, the 1832 Democratic National Convention nominated Van Buren for vice president, and he took office after the Democratic ticket won the 1832 presidential election. With Jackson's strong support and the organizational strength of the Democratic Party, Van Buren successfully ran for president in the 1836 presidential election. However, his popularity soon eroded because of his response to the Panic of 1837, which centered on his Independent Treasury system, a plan under which the federal government of the United States would store its funds in vaults rather than in banks; more conservative Democrats and Whigs in Congress ultimately delayed his plan from being implemented until 1840. His presidency was further marred by the costly Second Seminole War and his refusal to admit Texas to the Union as a slave state. In 1840, Van Buren lost his re-election bid to William Henry Harrison. While Van Buren is praised for anti-slavery stances, in historical rankings, historians and political scientists often rank Van Buren as an average or below-average U.S. president, due to his handling of the Panic of 1837. Van Buren was initially the leading candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination again in 1844, but his continued opposition to the annexation of Texas angered Southern Democrats, leading to the nomination of James K. Polk. Growing opposed to slavery, Van Buren was the newly formed Free Soil Party's presidential nominee in 1848, and his candidacy helped Whig nominee Zachary Taylor defeat Democrat Lewis Cass. Worried about sectional tensions, Van Buren returned to the Democratic Party after 1848 but was disappointed with the pro-southern presidencies of Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan. During the American Civil War, Van Buren was a War Democrat who supported the policies of President Abraham Lincoln, a Republican. He died of asthma at his home in Kinderhook in 1862, aged 79.

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10. Ulysses S. Grant (1822 - 1885)

With an HPI of 84.22, Ulysses S. Grant is the 10th most famous American Politician.  His biography has been translated into 131 different languages.

Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was an American military officer, politician, and the 18th president of the United States, who served from 1869 to 1877. As commanding general, Grant led the Union Army to victory in the American Civil War in 1865 and briefly served as U.S. secretary of war. An effective civil rights executive, Grant signed a bill to create the Justice Department and worked with Radical Republicans to protect African Americans during Reconstruction. Grant was born and raised in Ohio and graduated from West Point in 1843. He served with distinction in the Mexican–American War, but resigned from the army in 1854 and returned to civilian life impoverished. In 1861, shortly after the onset of the Civil War, Grant joined the Union Army and rose to prominence after securing Union victories in the western theater. In 1863, he led the Vicksburg campaign that gave Union forces control of the Mississippi River and dealt a major strategic blow to the Confederacy. President Abraham Lincoln promoted Grant to lieutenant general after his victory at Chattanooga. For thirteen months, Grant fought Robert E. Lee during the high-casualty Overland Campaign which ended with capture of Lee's army at Appomattox, where he formally surrendered to Grant. In 1866, President Andrew Johnson promoted Grant to General of the Army. Later, Grant openly broke with Johnson over Reconstruction policies. A war hero, drawn in by his sense of duty, Grant was unanimously nominated by the Republican Party and then elected president in 1868. As president, Grant stabilized the post-war national economy, supported congressional Reconstruction and the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, and prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan. Under Grant, the Union was completely restored. He appointed African Americans and Jewish Americans to prominent federal offices. In 1871, he created the first Civil Service Commission, advancing the civil service more than any prior president. The Liberal Republicans and Democrats united behind Grant's opponent in the 1872 presidential election, but Grant was handily reelected. Grant, however, was inundated by executive scandals during his second term. His response to the Panic of 1873 was ineffective in halting the Long Depression, which contributed to the Democrats winning the House majority in 1874. Grant's Native American policy was to assimilate Indians into Anglo-American culture. In Grant's foreign policy, the Alabama Claims against Great Britain were peacefully resolved, but the Senate rejected Grant's annexation of Santo Domingo. In the heavily disputed 1876 presidential election, Grant facilitated the approval by Congress of a peaceful compromise. Leaving office in 1877, Grant undertook a world tour, meeting prominent figures and becoming the first president to circumnavigate the world. In 1880, he was unsuccessful in obtaining the Republican nomination for a third term. In 1885, the final year of his life, facing severe financial reversals and dying of throat cancer, Grant wrote his memoirs, covering his life through the Civil War, which were posthumously published and became a major critical and financial success. At the time of his death, Grant was the most popular American and was memorialized as a symbol of national unity. Due to the Lost Cause myth spread by Confederate sympathizers around the turn of the 20th century, historical assessments and rankings of Grant and his presidency suffered considerably before they began recovering in the 21st century. Grant's critics take a negative view of his economic mismanagement and the corruption within his administration, while his admirers emphasize his policy towards Native Americans, vigorous enforcement of civil and voting rights for African Americans, and securing North and South as a single nation within the Union. Modern scholarship has better appreciated Grant's appointments of Cabinet reformers.


Pantheon has 1,542 people classified as American politicians born between 1639 and 2021. Of these 1,542, 776 (50.32%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living American politicians include Donald Trump, Jimmy Carter, and Hillary Clinton. The most famous deceased American politicians include Thomas Jefferson, Richard Nixon, and Andrew Jackson. As of April 2024, 134 new American politicians have been added to Pantheon including Lewis Strauss, Frank Caprio, and John W. McCormack.

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Overlapping Lives

Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.