From the recording Jefferson and Liberty
"Fisher's Hornpipe" was composed by James A. Fishar, a theater director at Covent Garden during the 1770s. The tune became widely popular in a short span of time and appeared in several collections in both England and America during the late 18th century. It is still frequently played as a reel for dances and even bluegrass fiddle competitions.
"Rights of Man" probably got its title from one or more publications written during the French Revolution of 1789. The "Declaration des droits de l'homme" was written by the first National Assembly as part of the new French constitution. (Louis XVI actually approved the constitution in 1790, but he lost his head anyway). Shortly thereafter, in 1791-2, Thomas Paine, one of the more influential political philosophers of the time, published the pamphlet "Rights of Man." It was written in answer to a previous pamphlet issued by English political philosopher James Burke, a member of the English Tory factions that were denouncing the revolutionary movement in France. "Rights of Man" sold a phenomenal (for the time) 200,000 copies in England while causing a furor for its support of the revolution. Paine was burned in effigy on English village greens, and his book was consigned to the flames. The printer who published the book was arrested and a Royal proclamation prohibited its sale.1 As is the case with attempts to ban books today, this only made the work more popular, and it continued to enjoy a wide underground circulation, particularly in Scotland and Ireland where people were still feeling the weight of English oppression. Robert Burns in particular was inspired by Paine's work and paraphrased parts of it in his song "A Man's a Man for a' That."