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Another Top 10 Most Iconic American Men

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Trent Lee Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. Join as we count down our picks for another Top 10 Iconic Male Americans. While our first list included both men and women, for this list, we will only include male citizens of the United States of America that have contributed to the civic good of the country and/or best represent it. Head over to WatchMojo.comsuggest to submit your ideas

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Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. Join as we count down our picks for another Top 10 Iconic Male Americans. While our first list included both men and women, for this list, we will only include male citizens of the United States of America that have contributed to the civic good of the country and/or best represent it.

#10: Bill Gates
1955 -

While Steve Jobs is also an American tech icon, we had to give the nod to America’s – and the world’s - richest man, William Henry “Bill” Gates III, software giant turned philanthropist. As co-founder of the world’s major PC software company Microsoft, Gates revolutionized the computer and technology industries. In fact, Microsoft became the primary personal computer operating system used everywhere from school classrooms to bank ATMs and even NASA. Later in life, Gates along with his wife, Melinda, founded The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation, designed to help combat poverty, promote education reform and more.

#9: Muhammad Ali
1942 -

Once known as The People’s Champion, no matter what Floyd Mayweather may say, Muhammad Ali is still one of the world’s greatest – if not THE greatest - professional heavyweight champions. But perhaps Ali’s greatest achievements were made outside the ring. Indeed, a champion of American civil rights, Muslim-Americans and the anti-war movement, Ali was a radical who rattled the U.S. establishment just by changing his so-called slave name, Cassius Clay, to the Muslim name of Muhammad Ali. In terms of civil rights and in the ring, The Champ certainly floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.

#8: Mark Twain
1835 - 1910

Author of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” and the Great American Novel, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, is one of America’s most recognizable authors worldwide. Twain’s works exemplified the bold spirit, wile and humor of not only the South, but of the American frontier. Twain singlehandedly embodied a unique voice in American literature, capturing the charm of spoken colloquialisms and the pre-Civil War landscape of the West. Today, his works remain as timeless as America’s spirit of adventure and triumph.

#7: Henry Ford
1863 - 1947

The founder of the Ford Motor Company, this 20th century automotive industrialist once said that, if asked, people would have probably wanted faster horses. Despite this, Ford revolutionized the American transportation industry by developing and mass-producing the first cars through the assembly line. By manufacturing affordable cars like the Model T, Ford turned a once luxury good that only the rich could afford into an every-day product. The combination of inexpensively mass-producing expensive goods and paying competitive employee wages is now known as Fordism and this optimistic worldview had Ford believing that industry and consumerism would pave the road towards world peace.

#6: Neil Armstrong
1930 - 2012

He took one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind. As the first human to walk on the Moon, Neil Armstrong wasn’t only an astronaut but an aerospace engineer, naval aviator and professor. At the height of the Cold War, the space race became a tilting point between democracy and communism. When one man dared to, literally, go to the stars, America triumphed as millions around the world tuned in to watch Armstrong’s first steps on Earth’s only natural satellite. This meant that the sky was no longer the limit of where America (and the world) could reach.

#5: Thomas Edison
1847 - 1931

Also called The Wizard of Menlo Park, Thomas Edison will forever be known as the man that invented the electric light bulb. With over a thousand patents in his lifetime, at one point applying for 400 per year, Edison was not only a prolific inventor, but a savvy businessman as well. Among Edison’s greatest inventions are the phonograph and the motion picture cameras. But cementing his legacy – pun intended – Edison also had a cement company that built the original Yankee Stadium. And during WWI, Edison was a consultant for America’s naval defensive systems. Indeed, Edison truly helped to illuminate America’s future.

#4: Walt Disney
1901 - 1966

Uncle Walt was a business tycoon, cartoonist, animator, voice actor, and film producer and inspired generations of imaginations. His talents as an animator and entrepreneur helped give birth to such iconic characters as Mickey Mouse and feature length classics such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Cinderella”. With the opening of the Disney theme parks, places where the dreams of the young and young at heart come true, Disney became a globally-known brand name and destination, as well as a pop culture icon that’s synonymous around the world with America.

#3: Franklin D. Roosevelt
1882 - 1945

While many may fondly remember the Reagan era, Ronald Reagan stood on the shoulders of the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who came before him. FDR served the American people as commander in chief and swept four Presidential elections. Before leading America to victory in WWII, Roosevelt guided the country through the Great Depression and oversaw America’s post-Depression recovery with the introduction of the New Deal. Perhaps FDR’s greatest legacy, the New Deal provided relief to the underprivileged, and saw to the recovery and reform of the American economy that also expanded the role of government. These domestic programs provided and protected millions of out-of-work Americans through social security and welfare, and some are still active to this day.

#2: Michael Jackson
1958 - 2009

Not since Elvis has an American artist reached international stardom the way Michael Jackson did. Singer, songwriter, producer and dancer, Jackson’s thrilling career seemed preordained, since, as a child, he was basically bred to join the music industry as part of The Jackson 5. But it wasn’t until his milestone solo album, Thriller, which became the first album to produce seven Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, that he truly became the King of Pop. Thriller has also sold over 65 million copies around the world, with about 29 million of those in the U.S. alone. So there’s no denying that MJ changed the face of American music.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- Jackie Robinson
1919 - 1972
- Malcolm X
1925 - 1965
- Johnny Cash
1932 - 2003
- Orville & Wilbur Wright
1871 - 1948; 1867 - 1912
- Ulysses S. Grant
1822 - 1885

#1: Thomas Jefferson
1743 - 1826

As the main author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson laid the foundation for the birth of the United States and is considered one of America’s Founding Fathers. Jefferson was influential in spreading the principle of republicanism and opposition to slavery. He became America’s first Secretary of State under George Washington before breaking off to form the Democratic-Republican Party and eventually becoming America’s third president himself. Jefferson later founded the University of Virginia, in the state where he had previously served as wartime governor. Without Jefferson, there would be no United States, and hence, no great Americans – and that’s why he tops our list.

Do you agree with our list? Which Yankee should belong on our list? For more civic Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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