1799 (n.), 1800 (adj.), in reference to the politics and policies of U.S. politician and statesman Thomas Jefferson, first great leader of the Democratic Party and president 1801-09. The surname, literally "son of Geoffrey," is attested from mid-14c.; in Middle English also Jeffrison, Geffreysone, Geffrason. Jeffersonianism is from 1804 in reference to the political beliefs of Thomas Jefferson; often it means advocacy of the greatest possible individual and local freedom and corresponding restriction of the national government.
updated on October 10, 2017