Sunday, December 17, 2006

Influential Americans

The current issue of The Atlantic has a list of the 100 most influential Americans of all-time. The top three are Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson. Here's where some American philosophers (other than Jefferson) stack up:

19. Thomas Paine
30. Elizabeth Cady Stanton
33. Ralph Waldo Emerson
40. John Dewey
43. W.E.B. DuBois
47. Frederick Douglass
51. Margaret Sanger
53. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
62. William James
64. Jane Addams
65. Henry David Thoreau
89. Walter Lippmann

I don't know if Lippmann, Sanger, or Holmes should be called "philosophers" but I think their writings are philosophically interesting and important for understanding American thought, so I listed them.

The list is biased toward dead people, but perhaps that's fair given that influence ebbs after one's death. It's also biased toward people who had a good influence.

Who's missing from this list? I didn't see Robert Ingersoll, Malcolm X, Vannevar Bush, and I'm probably missing some others.


Blogger hilde said...

Perhaps Ben Franklin deserves mention? Founded the APS, after all.

12:17 AM  
Blogger John Capps said...

Right - my mistake. Franklin comes in at #6.

9:43 PM  

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