Talk:The Greatest American

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LIST IS AWFUL Sorry but that list is awful. Lance Armstrong, Bill Cosby, Dr. Phil? Clearly it should be revised and the selection process should be a more thoughtful one and a non biased view of people who contributed to America's history, culture, achievements, inventions, ideas, arts, literature.

"lol nice lsit guys"[edit]

how in the hell did george bush end up on a list of best americans?! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:3BD8:5E30:EDFF:CD02:6635:DC2A (talk) 22:25, 12 May 2015 (UTC) Terrible list...he should be on the list of worse Americans. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:12, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

"Ask a stupid questions"[edit]

These lists are all pretty dumb. Obviously whatever name you come with for the "Greatest" American is going to be purely subjective, and arguing about whether the list is right is a bit like arguing what ought to be your favorite color. If you don't like the fact that one or another person is on there, I think you should consider the old saying, "Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer." HowardW 2008/2/18

Bill Gates/Abraham Lincoln[edit]

I didn't know that Bill Gates looked a lot like Abraham Lincoln. Check out the image of Lincoln and the description of the man who saved the Union during the American Civil War :) Yet another Bug to Bill gates name!!! :P

Problem rectified though!!! :)

Ronald Reagan[edit]

The 40th President of the United States, introduced fiscally expansive economic policies, and contributed greatly to the end of the Cold War.

I don't know what they teach in the U.S. but Reagan is known to have actually PROLONGED tensions between the US and USSR. Someone may want to erase that "...greatly..." from the caption on the photo.

-G —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:23, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

First Topic[edit]

lol, albert einstein? those americans. always ready for some jokes. 19:48, 7 March 2007 (UTC) The Brits claimed BONO who was born in Dublin and is Irish how does that make him British?

Oprah Winfrey. Dr. Phil. The Americans confirm their reputation again.

I agree with the above statement. How can G. W. Bush and his wife be on this list?!?!!? Are all americans suffering from loss of long term memory and attention deficit disorder? Jsumangilli 05:11, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

And Alexander Graham Bell on 3 lists? As a Scot, I'm delighted! --Ben davison 15:31, 26 Apr 2005 (UTC)

He won't make the top 10 like he did in Canada though. 04:37, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Watch out Britons! Next time we have a special, anyone who speaks English (yes, we have only 1 native Spanish speaker on the list) and has at least visited America will qualify as an American. Oh, you think Winston Churchill was a great Briton? He'll make a great American too! But seriously, the Bushes, Dr. Phil and Billy Graham the Antichirst made the list? If any of those makes #1, I'm moving to Canada. They picked Tommy Douglas...

Albert Einstein was an american only on paper. Way to go stealing other country's icons!! Jsumangilli 05:12, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Einstein was a naturalized citizen of the US and lived the last 20 years of his life here. So we're claiming him! HowardW16:55, 2006/4/22 (UTC)

-> but he had the american citizenship only for 5 years. but if you claim him, it shows you dont deserve him. he was there for the whole world not only for one country.

Ahem. He was an American because he chose to become one and lived here for some time. Germany evidently didn't want him - or any Jews, for that matter, at the time - so we were happy to bring him here. As for the whole world claiming him, go do a Google search of Einstein and being claimed as a "citizen of the world" by France and Germany.HowardW 2008/2/18

Yeah, because Mel Gibson will keep him out of it... --Ben davison 12:16, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

As an American, I hope the world does not judge us too harshly for this list. Some people that made the list are ridiculous. Please just hope George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, MLK, and FDR make the top 5 (not in that order, although it's not too bad). Then the list will be respectable. Hoping to go back in time to get better people on the list, Lord Voldemort 20:27, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Those are basically the 5 I hope make the list, possibly with Benjamin Franklin replacing one of them. How did Oprah make the top 25 and Nikola Tesla didn't (although at least Oprah was actually born in the USA)? --Ben davison 11:40, 11 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Oprah,George W Bush.Than Ronald Reagen gets number one.And Thomas Jefferson one of the biggest hypocrites ever.Terrible list.Dermo69

is there anywhere that gives the ranking up to number 6 as of now?

Reagan at 1? Clinton at 7? W at 6? While I am never ashamed to be an American, sometimes I am a bit embarrassed by the opions of my fellow citizens. Youngamerican 28 June 2005 16:53 (UTC)

Why take it seriously? After all, the 100 Greatest Britons include Diana, Princess of Wales, David Beckham, and J.K. Rowling. And Avril Lavigne in the top 40 for The Greatest Canadian? These shows are just for chuckles. TresÁrboles 29 June 2005 18:08 (UTC)
True, at least the top 5 isnt Paris Hilton, Ashlee Simpson, Clay Aiken, Carson Daily and Bam Margera Youngamerican 29 June 2005 18:33 (UTC)
Truly, all of these lists are horrible jokes. Any list of great Americans that doesn't include Washington and Lincoln as the top two, in whatever order, is devoid of legitimacy, and the reasons should be patently obvious to anyone with basic knowledge of American history. Try this again in 50 years and let's see if Reagan even makes the top 10, or if Bush, Clinton, or Winfrey, even make the top 50. - Jersyko talk July 9, 2005 16:25 (UTC)
Avril Lavigne is an extremely important person, and I wish she was an American so I could put her at the #1 position of our list. I like the Declaration of Independence and Gettysburg Address just fine, but they both pale in comparison to "Sk8er Boi." User:HowardW:HowardW 17:01 (UTC) Apr 23, 2006, and yes I'm joking.

This article name should have a "(show)" after it - it is upsetting if Discovery or whoever can just claim the namespace "The Greatest American", & have their list appear whenever someone references Shows with basic names, i suggest, should have "(show)" or something like that appended to their titles. lakitu 11:20, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Not much of a point, a redirect would just point to there from here. --The_stuart 02:19, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Reagan is the "Greatest American" and Dubya is the "Greatest Living American"?!? Give me a break. Neither of them deserves to have any form of "great" anywhere near his name (unless it is followed by "disaster" or the like), and neither is fit to shine the shoes of people like Benjamin Franklin, Lincoln, FDR, and George Washington. Krakatoa 19:41, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

You're mostly right.
  • Dubya <> Great.
  • Good < Reagan < Lincoln, Franklin, and Washington.
  • FDR = Jimmy Carter = communists socialists Worst. Presidents. Ever. Lawyer2b 03:38, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Guys, recall the judging panel. Ann Coulter? Of course Reagan and Dubya won.-- (talk) 16:47, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Norman Borlaug?[edit]

Where's Norman Borlaug? I guess saving a billion lives doesn't count for much these days.... --brian0918™ 28 June 2005 23:01 (UTC)

It doesn't even keep you safe from ivory tower sniping, as the article shows. Thanks for bringing this up; I hadn't heard of him either. TresÁrboles 29 June 2005 18:20 (UTC)
He saved foreigners, not Americans and greatly contributed to the increased population in third world countries therefore future strained world resources, creating future separation between the haves and have-nots. Now the have-nots outnumbered the haves by a great amount. It is sad that nobody heard of his work, but heard him or not, he does not belong on that list. Baboo 20:43, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

arbitrary popularity contest.[edit]

Any list such as this is just an arbitrary popularity contest. I mean, how can anyone seriously believe that Ronald Reagan was a greater American than Abraham Lincoln? They are not even in the same ballpark.

The choice of George Washington is just a popular historical figure. Even a cursory examination of history will show that Ben Franklin had a much greater impact than George Washington.

I am a great admirer of Benjamin Franklin, and he did a lot of interesting and important things. But I think the person who needs to do a cursory examination of history is you. The idea that Franklin had a greater impact, never mind a "much" greater impact, than George Washington is beyond silly. Washington commanded the victorious army that won the American Revolutionary War, went on to preside over the Constitutional Convention of 1787, was chosen the first President under that Constitution, and established many of the precendents we take for granted when considering the way the President operates within the framework of US government. Any one of these things would have been as influential as the things Franklin did. - HowardW2008/2/18


Nevertheless, this "popularity contest" was held, and Ronald Reagan was voted as the winner by the American public. This Wikipedia article simply states this fact. Whether or not you agree with the premise for this is irrelevant, yet the facts should be addressed within this article.

(By mcshadypl)

Temporarily stop editing[edit]

The article, in my opinion, is at a point where additional revisions will merely be cosmetic, for the facts have already been stated. Yet, it is constantly being bombarded with moronic posts by imbeciles who evidently have nothing more productive to do with their lives. I hereby propose that priveledges to edit this article be temporarily blocked to regular members. —This unsigned comment was added by Mcshadypl (talkcontribs) .

Uh huh, right... Cburnett 03:46, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

incorrect top 25[edit]

reagan was their #1 (tragic, i know), not lincoln. this has resulted in the top 25 having only 24 people.

As an American, I can say Reagan would've been in my top 5 but not necessarily number 1. That notwithstanding, the result was what it was. I reverted the removal of Regan as #1 simply because it was not reflective of the truth. Lawyer2b 01:38, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Criticism about pop culture?[edit]

I've heard some critics say that this list has too many people who have affected pop culture; that there is more weight on people who have affected pop culture; and less weight on those who haven't. The popular people get more votes basically. But I see the list... at least, the top 10, and most of them in the top 10 belong where they are. I don't see many that have gotten on the list with the help of pop-culture; I see mmost of them EARNING their spot, and being "better" than the person below them -- pop culture wasn't a factor... Or is this just the top 10? So what's up with this criticism? What do people mean when they say that?


Yea, I heard of some kind of complaints like that regarding pop culture and at the time this was done, I am surprised MJ even made the list - because not only had he been getting nothing but negative media attention (ESPEICALLY in America)for some years. He was actually even more popular around the rest of the world. At the time this voting thing was being done, he had been recently receiving even more bad publicity - The controversial Bashir documentary had been aired and then the media gave more controversial negatives as soon as allegations broke. Then, in the month of April 05 of this survey / voting thing, he is practically right in the middle of a worldwide televised allegations trial... Taking all the above into consideration, he actually still made the list and didn't do bad at all.

Wonder if this had been a worldwide "Greatest" vote where people from all over the world could vote, what the list would have looked like. Interesting!


I've always wondered who the greatest Americans are, and now I know.

I used to hold Twain in quite a high esteem, but only now do I realize that as an entertainer, he pales in comparison to Elvis. I also have been gravely misunderestimating Reagan for quite some time. Hard to imagine I didn't realize that he actually precedes Washington, Lincoln, and even Dr. Phil.

Wow. Having examined the list of the 100 greatest Americans, I really have to rejudge my views on greatness. I mean, as much as I like John Steinbeck, he really can't decorate half as well as Martha Stewart. Or throw a ball nearly as well as Brett Favre. Or jump on couches like Tom Cruise.

I mean, it never occurred to me that Woodward and Bernstein are really nothing compared to other figures in the media, such as Rush Limbaugh and Hugh Hefner.

I never took the time to examine the important role in American history and culture played by Helen Keller. Her influence on our country has truely been profound.

It is time for our country to seriously examine the way we teach American history.


Well, let's take a look at what this is: it's a lousy poll. Take it for what it is worth. Clearly, George W. Bush is not one of the greatest Americans, and this is while believing it was a good thing that he beat his opponents in two elections. I'll leave that alone. It would be brilliant to have a Wikipedia polling, which I daresay would come out more seemingly timeless, rather than reflecting mostly recent memory. --Ringhorne 02:39, 29 November 2006 (UTC)


  • Benjamin Franklin - 14.9%
  • Ignorant a##hole aka Miserable failure - named "Worst Living "American"
  • Bill Clinton

No doubt George W. Bush's placement on such a list is questionable, but this is not the place for this. Kildare79 17:30, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

There is a picture of Adolf Hitler on this page??!! References to Ronald McDonald should be changed. Also the validity of the titles given.

Ronald Reagan[edit]

Perhaps the caption of the photo of Ronald Reagan should be a little less POV, despite the fact that I agree with the statements made it comes across as rather abrupt. As I said, I'm not going to change it, it doesn't quite bother me that much, in fact I find it funny that he is listed as the favourite or Greatest American yet his caption says "Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States. His policies led to the second largest financial deficit in American history, the end of the 1979 energy crisis, and the death of over 30,000 Nicaraguans." Very unflattering :) Anyways, just thought I would point it out. Basser g 05:59, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Oh quit whining. It may not be flattering, but it's true. 19:27, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm going to say it since a lot of people didn't. The timing of the special was months after Reagan's death, and the condolences and tributes occurred months after his death. That's not saying he wasn't a good President, but I think a lot of the voters, particularly in California (where Reagan was governor), Texas (big Republican stronghold), and Florida (another Republican-heavy area), based their votes on those sympathies and emotions. Although I was a little surprised to see now-President Obama on the list of the Greatest Americans in the top 100, considering he was just elected to his first and only Senate tern months prior to the special. Nemalki (talk) 21:38, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Michael Jackson greater than Stevie Wonder, James Brown and Sammy Davis Jr. ?! I don't think so.[edit]

Their list can eat my shorts. MLK and George Washinton PWN Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagon, with Washington taking the cake just because of his military service to the Republic and his contribution as one of the Founding Fathers and the highest elected official. Forgive him that he had sex with the black slaves that he owned (I guess). FerFuxSake, at the age when MLK was killed, Reagan was still just some wanky film actor pretending to be a cowboy in Santa Fe Trail. How does that compare to facing down the KKK and the government of every state in Dixie & also putting a dog up the Federal government to boot? As for Lincoln .. don't make me LMFAO. It would be different if he actually freed slaves in the area he controlled, if he wasn't on record preferring a Union accomodating slavery above disunion, and if there was any evidence at all the he ever as much as even liked American negro people while he was alive. Ralph Nader is absolutely the Greatest American Alive, and not on this list ... (him and Johnny Knoxville ;-) ), but hey, maybe John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart just did that little bit more than him for the cause of standing up against corruption and undue influence in all spheres of American public life.—Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])

This page is about the results of the TV show, not about your personal opinion on who is the greatest American. Your post does not contribute to the article in any way. Ucucha 08:22, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
How was Ron Jeremy left off the list?—Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])

Oh heavens. This is not a list of greatest Americans, but a popularity contest by varied people with very poor sense of history, short memory, and a proclivity for mainstream media blind acceptance. If it is simply an opinion poll by Matt Lauer, it should be labeled as such, or, given the strange, current events bias, it truly should be deleted. The people who were key and pivotal and made the decisions that shaped the country into what it is today are not even on the list. They do NOT include Reagan, and certainly not Bush. WCH 01:08, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

This list is excellent[edit]

Of course I strongly disagree with how the American people voted on a lot of these individuals, but as a historical document this list is amazing! It gives an excellent snapshot of the values and culture of the American people at the start of the 21st century and you can learn quite a bit from it if you have an open mind. Slackergeneration 20:20, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Especially when you consider the context of the voting. Who would watch such a show? Who would call in and vote? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:01, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Rosa Parks: Greatest Sitting American[edit]

Hey, everybody else is getting a Greatest Fill-in-the-Blank American award, why not Rosa too?

And while I'm here, who the hell voted Ronald Reaghan greatest American? How did he beat Abraham Lincoln and George Washington I'll never know. And while I'm at that, how did George W. Bush even get on the list!? Besides initiating a war against an entity thats actually a method of attack and not an actual entity, taking away our writ of habeus corpus, and destroying freedom of speech, he's done nothing of any consequence to be considered great. Trust me, by 2050 he'll be as unheard of as Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan.

Jumping off my soapbox now.

Darth Skynyrd (talk) 15:07, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

"Not universally considered American"[edit]

I'm editing this section a bit because it has unsubstantiated claims that are a bit silly. Example: That Einstein is "usually" considered German. Really? Einstein was born in Germany, lived in Prague for a while - a Czech city that was part of the Austrian Empire at the time, making him a citizen of Austria - became a citizen of Switzerland for a time, moved to the US and become a citizen there, and was at one point offered the presidency of Israel. Einstein famously said that if his theories were correct that Germany would call him a German and France would call him a citizen of the world, but if his theories were wrong then France would call him a German and Germany could call him a Jew. So that's a round about way of saying that no, he is not "usually" considered to be a German. The others on the list weren't quite as extreme as that but I still clipped a few things here and there. - HowardW Feb 18, 2008 —Preceding comment was added at 03:34, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Viz mein kutsy aksent? Und you Amerikans vud still vant me on your liest? I luff you Amerika - Albert — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:17, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

One Small Thing[edit]

If this is supposed to be the 100 Greatest Americans, how come #26-#100 are just listed, as opposed to being ranked? Can anybody tell me who is ranked #26-#100? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:04, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Holy Poo![edit]

I know there's no change we can make to the list, but seriously. Ronald Reagan at number one? That's just wrong, especially considering he's above Lincoln, MLK, FDR, JFK, Washington, Franklin, Einstein, Disney... you know. People who belong on this list. And Bush and Clinton? Clinton was a sub-standard President, and Bush was a horrible one. (Albert Mond (talk) 22:38, 23 March 2009 (UTC))

Discussion on this topic[edit]

This was a list. It has been already made and it is not going to change. I do feel that it is stupid in a lot of ways, but theres nothing that we can do. -Vincetti (talk) 16:54, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

"Facts about The Greatest American" section[edit]

This listing of statistics seems too much like trivia to me. It is full of useless information. Any thoughts? (talk) 12:43, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

I have also removed random information from the image captions of the "top ten" Americans. Such information is either obvious or can be looked up in the articles. When certain information is around too often here on Wikipedia, it can get very repetitive. (talk) 12:58, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

External link to discovery channel is dead[edit]

Trying to verify bad edit, after much searching I could only find one listing. Anybody got a better way to document the original list, since Discover Channel has become ashamed of this episode? Shenme (talk) 03:35, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Strange ...Einstein wasn't an American.

Wonder if there is a "Greatest" list for worldwide voting - where countries all over the world could pick anyone from any country ...I'd say this list would look very different if there was. Would be interesting, though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:24, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

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