I'll agree with FDR (despite the fact his programs were semi-facist and nearly socialist, it was what was needed at the time). I would like to argue John Locke, who may not have been a traditional "leader" but whose political ideology is the basis for most of the modern world.
Also, how about Philip II Augustus of France and Louis XIV (Sun-King). These guys basically built absolutism and Divine Right, and Philip Augustus managed to boot much of England out of France. I would also say Justinian (the Byzantine emperor), despite what Procopius has to say.
Saladin was pretty great too, managed to save the Islamic empires from the Crusaders.
I would add Pope Gregory I "The Great" to the political list, and the architect of the 4th Lateran council Innocent III. These guys made the Catholic Church have real political power.
One shouldn't forget Vladimir Lenin either. Just because he is one of the "bad boys," he was very effective and making change and taking the reigns of a gigantic country, switching it over to control by his own Communist party.
You know, these "greatest generals/leaders/etc..." are getting a bit formulaic, we need a "worst, most tragic, or unintentionally funny" leaders thread. My first vote would go to Maximilian Robespierre, who literally got people so riled up that he lost his head. And James II Stuart of England, who fled from a bloodless coup in the Glorious Revolution led by a (probably homosexual) William of Orange and his own daughter Mary (not to mention the whole "warming pan baby" incident). King John springs to mind, and the Magna Carta. Not to mention about 100 Roman emperors, like Commodus, Marcus Aurelius's son, who (unlike the movie) was an actual Gladiator in the arena from time to time. Caligula is an obvious choice, since he had statues of sexual positions to refer to when he had a conquest in his bedroom (and the business about his horse). And lets not forget everyone's favorite guy to hate, George McClellan.
< Message edited by Son_of_Montfort -- 9/4/2007 4:02:12 AM >
"Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoscet!"
(Kill them all. God will know his own.)
-- Arnaud-Armaury, the Albigensian Crusade