Some of the Most Important People in American History

  • Ben Franklin

    In 1775 Franklin helped draft out the Declaration of Independence. The Founder-of-all-trades— scientist, printer, writer, diplomat, inventor, and more; like his country, he contained multitudes.
  • James Madison

    James Madison
    In 1788 Madison wrote a third of the Bill of Rights. He fathered the Constitution and wrote the Bill of Rights.
  • George Washington

    Geaorge Washington made the United States possible—not only by defeating a king, but by declining to become one himself. He became president in 1789.
  • Alexander Hamilton

    Alexander Hamilton
    Hamilton was as oldier, banker, and political scientist, he set in motion an agrarian nation’s transformation into an industrial power. He became president in 1796.
  • John Marshall

    The defining chief justice, he established the Supreme Court as the equal of the other two federal branches. Became Chief Justice in 1801.
  • Thomas Jefferson

    Thomas Jefferson
    The author of the five most important words in American history: “All men are created equal.” He became president in 1801.
  • Abe Lincoln

    Abe Lincoln
    He saved the Union, freed the slaves, and presided over America’s second founding. He became president in 1860.
  • John D. Rockefeller

    The man behind Standard Oil set the mold for our tycoons—first by making money, then by giving it away. He founded his first Oil Company in 1870.
  • Thomas Edison

    Thomas Edison
    It wasn’t just the lightbulb; the Wizard of Menlo Park was the most prolific inventor in American history. In 1877 he invented the very first phonograph.
  • Teddy Roosevelt

    Whether busting trusts or building canals, he embodied the “strenuous life” and blazed a trail for twentieth-century America.Teddy became president in 1901.
  • Henry Ford

    Henry Ford
    He gave us the assembly line and the Model T, and sparked America’s love affair with the automobile. The first model T was introduced in 1903.
  • Woodrow Wilson

    He made the world safe for U.S. interventionism, if not for democracy. Wilson became president in 1912.
  • Franklin Roosevelt

    He said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and then he proved it. He bacame president in 1933.
  • MLK Jr.

    MLK Jr.
    His dream of racial equality is still elusive, but no one did more to make it real.MLK recieved the Nobel Peace Prize Award in 1964.
  • Ronald Reagan

    The amiable architect of both the conservative realignment and the Cold War’s end. He became president in 1981.