Top 10 Iconic Americans

From athletes to actors, musicians to military men, presidents to pop culture personalities, the famous folks from United States history come from all walks of life. Whether they’ve shaped the nation with their politics, their words or simply their image, there’s no question about the impact these citizens have had on their home country. In honor of Independence Day on July 4th, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 iconic Americans. For this list, we’ve chosen ten people who we thought best represent the United States and whose images are forever linked with Americana.
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Top 10 Iconic Americans


They represent the Stars and Stripes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 iconic Americans.

For this list, we’ve chosen ten people who we thought best represent the United States and whose images are linked with Americana.

#10 – Michael Jordan (1963-)

Hard work made His Airness one of the greatest athletes ever – regardless of sport. After triumphing over adversities like his father’s murder, MJ represented the U.S. with the Olympic Dream Team, took part in the national pastime, and parlayed his brand recognition into endorsements, an entrepreneurial career and acting roles. Jordan capped off his career by returning from retirement – twice – because nothing keeps the great Americans down.

#9 – Oprah Winfrey (1954-)

An embodiment of the American Dream, Oprah worked her way up from a difficult youth to become one of the world’s most powerful women and African-Americans: with her backing, any product or even political candidate can expect a surge in support. Recognized as the media force that popularized the talk show and confessional TV, Ms. Winfrey is also credited with breaking cultural taboos and bringing spirituality to the mainstream.

#8 – Babe Ruth (1895-1948)

Baseball is America’s national pastime, and the Bambino saved and transformed the game. With multiple records and one of the first spots in the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Sultan of Swat was one of the greatest to ever grace the field. But, it was his charming, extroverted and friendly personality that made Babe a folk hero and the first athlete to combine sports and celebrity.

#7 – Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

A leader in the African-American fight for civil rights, Dr. King personified the ideas of racial equality and peaceful protest. Leading the charge with the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington and more, he did everything in his power to see his version of the American dream become a reality. Unfortunately, his beliefs made this Nobel Peace Prize-winner a target, but that only strengthened his resolve.

#6 – Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

This Founding Father was a top mind, with experience in writing, politics, music, and more. A symbol of American ingenuity, the man nicknamed The First American is famed for his scientific advancements and inventions, which include bifocals, the Franklin stove and – essentially – electricity. With his contributions to the Declaration of Independence, Franklin is also known as a witty, ethical man dedicated to civic duty, whose image stays with us today.

#5 – George Washington (1732-1799)

His position as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War stood him in good stead when he became a Founding Father and the first President of the United States. Renowned as an exemplary politician, a war hero and the man who shaped the presidency, this unifying figure presided over the drafting of the Constitution, and today is honored with monuments and memorials as the “Father of the Country.”

#4 – John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

Charming. eloquent and young, JFK modernized the presidency and ushered in a New Frontier. The Kennedy family was known for its wealth, nobility and political acumen, and was as close to a Royal Family as the United States ever had. Following his Naval career, Jack entered politics and subsequently led the country through crises, inspired the American space program and guided the nation towards racial equality before his untimely assassination.

#3 – Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962)

She never held office, won the Nobel Prize or built a country, but Marilyn embodies Americana like no one else. The original blonde bombshell, Monroe followed her dreams and achieved greatness as an actress known for her talent and sex appeal. Her romantic relationships with other American icons like Arthur Miller, Joe DiMaggio and JFK increased her celebrity, but it was her accidental death that intensified her mystique.

#2 – Elvis Presley (1935-1977)

By making the rock sound his own, Elvis became the first white artist to capture the feel of black music. His greased hair, curled lip and swiveling hips lit up the big and small screens, while the King of Rock and Roll embodied American ideals, including commitment to country. By endearing himself so completely to his legions of fans, Elvis ensured himself a life after his premature death.

#1 – Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Known as the Great Emancipator or simply Honest Abe, this Republican Party stalwart ascended to the presidency on the promise to end slavery in America, and led the nation through the turbulence of secession and the Civil War. Despite his assassination by a Confederate spy, Lincoln’s image is recognizable to all, with his towering frame, top hat and honest eyes coming to exemplify morality, fairness and American ideals.

Do you agree with our list? Who do you think best represents the Red, White and Blue? Be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com for more entertaining top 10s.
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