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Lincoln most influential American: Survey

The US president who won the Civil War and ended slavery, topped a list of the 100 most influential American figures in shaping US history.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2006 18:19 IST

Abraham Lincoln, the US president who won the Civil War and ended slavery, topped a list of the 100 most influential American figures in shaping US history, a survey released on Tuesday said.

The Atlantic Monthly magazine asked 10 notable historians to rank the Americans they felt had the greatest impact on US history.

Other figures who made the top 10 included US Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D Roosevelt, as well as civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Also included were Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall and inventor Thomas Edison.

More than 30 writers including Mark Twain and poet Walt Whitman were in the top 100. More contemporary figures included musician Bob Dylan, golfer Tiger Woods and consumer activist Ralph Nader.

Editor James Bennet said in a statement the list was designed to stimulate debate about who had affected the country and how it happened.

For example, he asked, "How can Bill Gates be ahead of Elvis Presley, or Presley ahead of Lewis and Clark," referring to the early 19th century overland expedition to the Pacific Coast by explorers Capt Meriwether Lewis and 2nd Lt William Clark.

Those who compiled the list included Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who said she looked for people "who made it possible for people to lead expanded lives -- materially, psychologically, culturally and spiritually."