The BEST and WORST Leaders (or Regimes) in the history of planet Earth

Genghis Khan has an estimated 16 million descendants, 0.8% of the world’s total population. I’d say that’s pretty good. On top of that, he is the living exception to the rule about engaging in Land Wars in Asia. His descendants conquered most of what remained of Asia, and even swathes of Eastern Europe.

Worst? Charles II of Spain. He was so in-bred that he couldn’t even chew his food, and drooled. He had to be treated basically as an infant until he was about 10 years old. He was so ineffectual as a ruler that the War of Spanish Succession resulted, leading to eleven years of bloody global warfare. He had insanity in his family, and neither washed nor even combed his hair.

I’ve always been an Alexander the Great fan. Even if you only believe half the stuff said about him he was still superhuman. After generations of being the bitches of persia he gets together an army and spends the rest of his life wandering around destroying armies often many times larger than his, charging across rivers, climbing over walls and jumping into enemy cities first. And his politics were particuarly cosmopolitan and accepting for the time.

For the worst leader ever I will have to go with whoever was heading EA during the time they bought the Wing Commander and Ultima franchises and then did nothing with the properties. I’ll take Rimbo’s unwashed imbicile anyday over that guy.

Greatest. Leader. Ever.

The OP was about leadership, not ultimate success. His story is amazing, as many of you know, but those that don’t need to do some research for fun, because this man was incredible.

Good answer…

Conversely, you could vote the Carthaginian senate as collective worst leaders ever. Textbook example of stubbornly clinging to an outdated conception of the world…

What’s with you and procreation as a measure of success?

Worst: Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler.
Best: Lincoln, Ghandi, Alexander the Great.

Stalin was an excellent leader in terms of power and efficiency, unless you are defining your choices by atrocities, in which case I demand you take Alexander off your best list.

For those thinking of Mao. Accidentally starving 30 million residents during your “Great Leap forward” is an example of fantastic losership. If not for the US exporting tons of grain to China the death toll would have been much higher. Stalin ion the other hand actually intended to kill the people he, well killed.

Which Roman entity was most responsible for the decline of the Roman Empire? I want to add him to my crappy leader list.

There is no single reason for the fall of Rome, and no single leader can be blamed. It took a long time for that to happen. There are plenty of pathetic Roman emperors to choose from though.

Mugabe has earned at least an honorable mention for Worst leader. As have Kim Jong-Il and Omar al-Bashir. They’re definitely tops out of people still in power.

I fucking hate Mao. Bastard keeps harassing my border cities in Civ 4.

And how 'bout a shout-out for Hammurabi, whose Codex was one of the world’s first written, formal codes of law? Sure, it’s full of death and dismemberment and the like, but without it we may never have known the joy of tort reform!

Actually, that code represented a very civilized approach, relatively speaking. It was an eye for an eye system, but the key was that it was ONLY an eye for an eye. In other words, it limited revenge and escalation. If you pluck my eye, I don’t get to come murder your family for justice. I get to do back to you what you did to me, essentially. Of course, if I murdered your slave, that would mean I’d just owe you some money.

I’m moderately surprised that no-one has suggested Winston Churchill as best leader, given that when Britain and the Commonwealth pretty much stood alone against Germany he was the chap who fortified the Empire and their allies, and provided the sole platform for the defeat of the Germans, when a peace treaty would have been considerably easier. Some chicken; some neck, and all that.

Worst leader, Robert Mugabe. Took the bread basket of Africa, and a wealthy and prosperous nation and sent it back to the stone age. There are not enough words to describe how disgusting his rule has been in Zimbabwe, and not enough words to describe how pathetic the response from the rest of Africa (specifically, South Africa) has been.

I’m not sure stack-ranking the evil mass-murdering ones accomplishes much. Mugabe’s an interesting candidate for non-liquidationist biggest fuckup.

I’d think of best as “given the circumstances, how well did they do?” No one immediately comes to mind as in a class by themselves.

Hannibal does, as already mentioned. Assuming you ignore questions of morality.

Setting aside the question of divinity for a moment, I would argue Jesus just based on his influence on humanity. If he existed, and he was regular person, his influence is even more amazing.

If you are going to include religious leaders Confucius and Gautama Buddha beat Jesus any day for influence on humanity.

Well, starving 30 million residents and keeping your support seems pretty much like good leadership to me.

Without morals getting in the way, Hitler makes a strong case, as he did some fantastic work pulling germany out of the gutter and motivating his citizenry into a finely working machine. But he was also probably one of the worst human beings ever to have lived… so… yeah. He also made HUGE mistakes keeping him from the top of the list. Great motivator, poor long term strategist. He just couldn’t sustain his fanaticism… not to mention all of the crimes against humanity. That being said, he stays off either list, because he is somewhere in the middle.

I would have to say, all around, for my money. You have only one real option.

Winston Churchill
Do I really need to explain this? He kept a small island country together through one of the worst times in history. He basically was the face of the allied side of WWII. He was also a champion drinker.

(Runner up: George Washington)

Now, moving on to worst. This is tough, because finding a “best” was so hard to do, that meant that there were so many baddies to choose from. Mao Zedong did some stupid stuff… but all in all, he did unify China… while he made some concessions and mistakes, he basically created China as we see it today.

There is no doubt, in my mind, that the worst leader of all time is probably Caligula. Porno movie aside, the man was literally insane. It is suspected that his reign was ushered in by a few quiet assasinations. (Nice way to start) He then made a show to the public, with some nice architectural and infrastructure changes. It was all good. After about 2 years in, everything changed. People described a huge change in attitude. He nearly died, but as he came back to health, he began accusing many people of plotting for his death. (all of the accused were executed) He began dressing up as various gods, often describing himself as one. He spent nearly all of the treasury’s money on ornate palaces and himself. When he ran out of money, it is thought that many of the people he accused (who just happened to be rich) were executed so that the government could seize their estates.

Worst: Caligula

(Runner up: Stalin)

Stalin is spared the worst seat, because thanks to the bitter cold, Russia survived WWII. Also, though he was crazy, he didn’t run around having orgies claiming himself to be a god. He did some bad shit, but he kept Russia together. (Though he and Caligula share the awesome trait of accusing and killing so many “conspirators”)

Also, I really like Mugabe as a more recent choice. Hell, why not throw in Omar al-Bashir for good measure.

That’s a fair counterpoint considering how broad the original question was.