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People/Characters: Marquis de Condorcet

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Works (5)

The Age of Napoleon by J. Christopher Herold
Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do About It) by William Poundstone
John Adams by David McCullough
Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers by Brooke Allen
Numbers Rule: The Vexing Mathematics of Democracy, from Plato to the Present by George G. Szpiro

Character description

Jean-Marie, Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794): French politician and theorist of voting. In the chaos of the French revolution, he was branded a traitor and eventually executed. His greatest historical significance is probably for his work on voting, in which he offered the concept of a "Condorcet Winner" -- a candidate in a multi-person contest who would beat each of his rivals individually in a two-person race. Sadly, it is easy to show that not all elections have Condorcet winners -- and that, even in races that do, the Condorcet winner may not emerge on top if a different election system is used.

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