At least we can all agree that the Beatles (or Radiohead) don't
get to be number one on this list. Check it
out and join the debate--the general criteria is, "most
influential," not necessarily most wonderful. A random
1) Abraham Lincoln;
16) Mark Twain (highest ranking purely literary figure);
30) Elizabeth Cady Stanton (the highest ranking woman);
46) William Lloyd Garrison;
52) Joseph Smith;
67) P.T. Barnum;
88) Enrico Fermi;
96) Ralph Nader.
Five of the top 10 were presidents--Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, FDR, and Wilson. Anyone reading Reason for this past week will doubtless notice one very serious omission: the late Milton Friedman.
[UPDATE: I originally wrote that I couldn't tell if ever having been an American citizen was a requirement to make this list, but on further thinking about the list it seems as if it must have been--I don't see anyone on it who, to my knowledge, never became a U.S. citizen.]