Paul L. Caron
Dean



Sunday, June 14, 2020

UNH Franklin Pierce Law School May Drop Name Of 14th U.S. President (1853-57) Because He Did Not End Slavery

Boston Globe, UNH’s Franklin Pierce School of Law Considering Name Change:

UNH FP (2020)A New Hampshire law school bearing the name of the state’s only president, Franklin Pierce, is thinking about removing him from its title as part of the national conversation about systemic racism because he opposed taking steps to stop slavery.

Pierce, the country’s 14th president, served from 1853 to 1857. He was an accomplished attorney and brigadier general in the U.S. Army. He never owned slaves and expressed moral opposition to slavery, but he was concerned with keeping the nation unified.

“I support these calls to reconsider our relationship to an historical figure who was a part of our country’s painful history,” Megan Carpenter, dean of the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law, said in a statement Friday. “Our school has an incredible opportunity to become a meaningful part of the national dialogue. I’m personally inspired by the voices within our school community who are expressing their feelings on this issue.” ...

A decision on whether to remove Pierce’s name from the Concord school will be made no later than Aug. 1, Carpenter said. ...

The law school was originally known as the Franklin Pierce Law Center. The state approved a merger between the school and UNH in 2010. The school then was called the UNH School of Law; it was changed to its current name last year. At the time, the school said it made the change to reflect the reputation of the law center with respect to the study of intellectual property law.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2020/06/unh-franklin-pierce-law-school-may-drop-name-of-14th-us-president-1853-57-because-he-did-not-end-sla.html

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Comments

And everybody dismissed it as ridiculous when it was suggested that progressives will eventually go after every president and tear down and rename every historical symbol prior to Lincoln.

But I imagine even Lincoln and every president after, except one, will eventually be targeted by the woke mob.

Posted by: MM | Jun 14, 2020 11:34:05 AM

I generally deplore this fad of tearing down monuments and whatnot. This "let's murder the memory of our ancestors" phenomenon is embarrassingly anti-historical and reductionist. That said, the only reason one would name a law school after Pierce is that he was President or perhaps because he earnestly tried to preserve the Union albeit by advancing the cause of slavery. While it is not fair to make Pierce into a cartoon villain -- he almost certainly was a well-intended man without a record of personal meanness or cruelty -- there simply is no good reason for a law school namesake. UNH can easily do better

Posted by: Mike Petrik | Jun 14, 2020 11:48:01 AM

Wouldn’t you have to change the name New Hampshire too?

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Jun 15, 2020 2:54:57 AM

I am surprised the Young Uns even knew of Franklin Pierce, let alone anything of his Presidency. There may be a reason New Hampshire generally keeps quiet about Pierce, who was known as a Dog-faced or Dough-faced Democrat, a Northerner with Southern sympathies, sort of the Joe Biden for his time.

Posted by: Nathan Redshield | Jun 15, 2020 4:21:25 AM

"I’m personally inspired by the voices within our school community who are expressing their feelings on this issue.”

It's all about their feelings

Posted by: Bandit | Jun 15, 2020 4:40:41 AM

"I generally deplore this fad of tearing down monuments and whatnot. This "let's murder the memory of our ancestors" phenomenon is embarrassingly anti-historical and reductionist. "

Are you actually saying that there is no historical record of Franklin Pierce other than being on the name of a flailing third tier law school in a small state with a legal market that can support the output of approximately zero law schools? Because that's what it sounds like you're saying. I didn't know that changing a name also erased all history books, biographies, and other works that discuss his life, presidency, etc.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jun 15, 2020 9:56:04 AM

Umm... Franklin Pierce was a DEMOCRAT.

I guess the "party switch" hoax isn't working.

So they've gotta start getting rid of all the evidence 1984 style.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 15, 2020 6:21:52 PM

Mike: "Wouldn’t you have to change the name New Hampshire too?"

Not to mention Oklahoma, too. Literally translates as "red people" in Cherokee. I thought Sen. Warren would make hay out of this, and the Washington Redskins football team, if push came to shove for the nomination, but it never did.

Posted by: MM | Jun 15, 2020 7:25:26 PM

"Umm... Franklin Pierce was a DEMOCRAT.

I guess the "party switch" hoax isn't working.

So they've gotta start getting rid of all the evidence 1984 style."

Yes, because party platforms can't shift over the course of 180 years. You'll do well with the derpy regulars here.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jun 16, 2020 7:46:07 AM

Unemployed: "Because that's what it sounds like you're saying."

It's a symbolic move, based on sophomoric and truly immature reasoning. Iconoclasm is a time-honored tradition, and I'm not surprised that the American Left is slowly moving a little closer to Taliban's view of the world.

Would you be as cavalier if GW Law considered doing the same thing?

Posted by: MM | Jun 16, 2020 6:04:24 PM

The name of the law school was derived from its temporary affiliation with Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, New Hampshire, which the school's founder sought to boost his new law school's chances of obtaining accreditation back in 1973; hence the original name of Franklin Pierce Law Center -- it was a graduate center of the Rindge college.

Posted by: J. Appleton | Jun 16, 2020 7:30:55 PM

@UN
No, that is not what I'm saying at all, and I have no idea why you think so. Well, actually I do, but I'd rather be kind than get into that.

Posted by: Michael T Petrik | Jun 17, 2020 11:23:42 AM

UT: "You'll do well with the derpy regulars here."

Self-projection, much?

Posted by: MM | Jun 17, 2020 7:01:12 PM

@Unemployed Northeastern: You need to get your party switch mythology straight, my man. And who cares if the DNC adopted a less evil position re: blacks? They're still the party of the KKK and Jim Crow just as much as assassin -- no matter how repentant or changed a person -- is the killer of his assassinee.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 17, 2020 11:09:56 PM

Mike,

You wrote " This "let's murder the memory of our ancestors" phenomenon is embarrassingly anti-historical and reductionist. "

This is of course wildly over-the-top, hysterical, concern-trolling on your part. You are trying to walk that back now, I get it, because of course all manner of books have been written about Pierce and changing the name of a middling law school will not, in fact, MURDER HIM FROM HISTORY.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Jun 18, 2020 9:11:23 AM

>>>I generally deplore this fad of tearing down monuments and whatnot. This "let's murder the memory of our ancestors" phenomenon is embarrassingly anti-historical and reductionist.

Heh. 'Anti-history?' This is about MAKING history. By undertaking these renamings and statue removals, history will show that we people of 2020 were committed to disavowing racism whether in the past, the present, or especially in the future.

Also, Franklin Pierce will still be known to history. Only it will be inside library-books and museums, not on the side of buildings or imprinted on plaques of statues.

Likewise, if we were to bring our ancestors back to life in the present day, and give them a couple years to acclimate a little bit to today's social norms, I think they'd proudly support initatives to remove their names and remove their statues proud in the knowledge that they're sacrificing their notoriety in the name of a cause that's worth it.

Likewise, the current trend is to do everything possible we can to eradicate those remnants that still exist in the present day (and it might well be the case that those 'remnants' aren't small remnants, as we're starting to find out). Even IF we are going overboard with this trend, if what we're doing finally eradicates racism, or at least deals racism a mortal blow, then those tradeoffs of going overboard will be worth it.

Racism is a wretched tumor that has kept society from achiveing its true potential for far too many years. It needs to die completely.

Posted by: MercWithMouth | Jun 18, 2020 3:43:21 PM

>>>Would you be as cavalier if GW Law considered doing the same thing?
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You know, I've actually thought about that before.

In my mind, George Washington really was different. He's simply too big of a name -- and with major accomplishments to his name -- to remove objects related to his indifference to slavery, wholesale.

BUT...

At the same time, I could honestly perceive a world where scaling back the sheer numerous-ness of tributes to him took place, at least a little bit. Likewise, if we were to bring him back back to life in the present day, and give him a couple years to acclimate a little bit to today's social norms, I think he'd proudly support initatives to remove his name and remove some of his statues proud in the knowledge that he's sacrificing his notoriety in the name of a cause that's worth it.

What might be a good compromise measure? At each place where there's a tribute to him, we also construct a black obelisk that's 15feet tall. And, at its base, there be a plaque that recites some of his accomplishments, but also openly acknowledges his flaws. Moreover, the plaque would indicate that the obelisk was constructed as a reminder that he had serious flaws that should always be remembered alongside the good.

Posted by: MercWithMouth | Jun 18, 2020 3:45:02 PM

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a friend of Pierce's, so I think that now would also be a good time to expunge Hawthorne's works from the American Literature curriculum, based on guilt by association.

Posted by: Rob T. | Jun 19, 2020 4:40:55 AM

The title of this is rather misleading--the article says the effort is because Pierce opposed ending slavery, not because he did not end it. Very different connotations.

Posted by: FactsMatter | Jun 20, 2020 11:10:49 AM

Merc: I like compromise, too. But the riotiers in Portland, and the new head of the NYT editorial page, and who knows how many progressives in America, see nothing to compromise WRT the destruction of all monuments and statues to the Founding Fathers.

Posted by: MM | Jun 20, 2020 7:18:31 PM

UN --
Why do you keep responding to things I never said? Do you know how odd your non-sequiturs are?

Posted by: Mike Petrik | Jun 22, 2020 12:04:10 PM