Charles Milles Manson in American History

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Charles Milles Manson is of the most infamous men in American History. Mason was born in Ohio in 1934. His mother was 16 years old when she gave birth. Charles mother was an alcoholic and had a criminal record (Kranz, Michael). When Charles was a young boy, he was extremely manipulative and also violent. Charles Manson grew up having a difficult childhood. He grew up attending a copious amount of all boys’ schools. Manson soon was put into the foster system when at the age of five, his mother was arrested and convicted of armed robbery (Kranz, Michael). Soon after being placed into the foster care system, he began to commit petty crimes. Charles Manson committed his first federal crime in 1956 for various crimes. After being released from prison, he went to California to pursue a musical career but fell short. Manson began to make connections with music executives and artists. One extremely recognizable name is the Beach Boys. Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys allowed Charles to stay with him in 1968, to later be kicked out due to Manson and his women causing trouble (Kranz, Michael). Michael Kranz states that, “Manson create a cult around himself called the ‘Family’ that he hoped to use to bring about Armageddon through a race war.” His cult also mainly consisted of women. Mason believed that only he and his cult would live the end all race war. Charles cult started to kill celebrities and blame it on African Americans, hoping that it would bring attention to Caucasian Americans. Charles Manson used LSD to affect his followers’ thoughts (Kranz, Michael). He sent his cult members on a two-day killing spree, which resulted in the death of 7 people. One of the people killed on the spree, was Sharon Tate. Kranz stated that, “Manson targeted Polanski and Tate because they represented the rich show business elite that he felt had rejected him.” The Family and Manson were arrested on vandalism charges, but were later recognized as the murderers. Charles and one of his followers, Susan Atkins, were convicted of 9 murders. Charles Manson passed away November 19 of 2017.

I believe one of the social implications of this case is that even though Charles and his “family” committed horrible crimes, people were inspired by what he had done, and wanted to be a part of his life. While serving his life sentence in prison, Charles Manson received on average 4 letters a day from fans (Kranz, Michael). Many people have studied Manson, and his personality. Ann O’Neill stated that, “Manson’s crimes continue to evoke a strong reaction long after public obsession over the other high-profile cases has faded.” Charles also was allowed to do television interviews. In 1988, Manson did a televised interview with Geraldo Rivera, where he said, “I’m going kill you, as many as I can. I’m gonna pile you up to the sky, I figure about 50 million,” (O’Neill, Ann). I believe something that really influence people and really caught people’s attention was that he never personally killed anyone. During Charles and his “family’s” trial, he carved an X into his head. His “family” and outsiders or followers also carved an X into their foreheads. In the article from CNN, Ann O’Neill stated, “It’s a mind warp. That was really scary. It wasn’t just that people were spouting beliefs for him; they were cutting crosses into their heads.” Charles Manson inspired countless things in American pop culture. For example, people associate ‘Helter Skelter’ with Manson, rather than the Beatles, and books were also written about him. Quentin Tarantino is currently filming a movie about Charles Manson and the murders committed by his followers. The television show ‘South Park’ also made him a star of a Christmas episode.

I believe one of the legal implications of this case is that Charles Manson and his “family” influenced the ideas of cults in American society. Jeffrey Toobin stated, “In the decade that followed the Manson murders, the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped Patty Hearst, in Berkeley, and Jim Jones’s People Temple, in San Francisco, transfixed supporters, more than 900 of whom committed mass suicide.” Charles Manson showed the world that people could become criminals, just by influencing their lives. Toobin also claimed that, “Our fascination with Stockholm syndrome and brainwashing owe much to what the world saw in the Manson case.” I agree with Jeffrey Toobin’s statement about how the Manson Family influenced and increased people’s interest with these topics. Manson believed that he was above the law, and since he did not actually commit the murders himself, he thought he would not serve any time.

Charles Manson passed away November 19, 2017. Even though he has passed, his legacy will be with American history and culture forever. Manson is typically described as a hippie, but he was not. Charles used the hippie culture to seek out helpless women to control. He has changed the way people think of hippies from that era, due to the horrible crimes that took place. Aja Romano claimed, “Beneath all of Manson’s theatrics, his bizarre ramblings, his controlling behavior and violent outbursts, his real cultural impact lay in his ability to make his run-of-the-mill petty crimes and all too common control and dominance of women seem like something larger than life.” Men worshiped Charles for his ability to control women. He was an extremely talented manipulator. Manson received his legacy through the attention he received in the media, which also led to books, television shows, and even movies. Even though Charles Manson has passed away, his legacy will live on forever in pop culture.

Although Charles Manson created a name for himself, as well as a legacy, I do not believe that him and his “family’s” crime effect our daily lives. Manson’s crimes do not have an actual effect on how we vote. The only people that were affected by these murders, in terms of voting, were the people who committed the crimes themselves. I believe that this also does not affect where we go to school as well. Charles Manson’s crimes would not affect where we go to school, unlike crimes that happened at a school. For example, the Columbine school shooting would deeply affect where we attend school, since the crime took place at a school. This crime could possibly impact where we live though. All of Charles Manson’s “family” murders took place in California. I believe that some people might avoid the areas that these crimes took place, but this would not cause people to avoid California all together. There have been crimes all over the country and world. According to the FBI Crime Clock in 2015, “A murder occurred every 33.5 minutes.” So, if people tried to avoid living in places where crimes have been committed, everyone would have nowhere to live.

There are copious amounts of laws against murder. Murder is a class 1 felony and can result with life imprisonment or even death. There are 31 states in the United States that allow for the death penalty. In some cases, those states will choose against the death penalty to study the criminal being charged. Charles Manson was allowed interviews for articles, and even television while serving his sentence in prison. While in prison Manson received over 100 violations (St. John, Paige and Branson-Potts, Hailey). “Over the years, he has been cited for assault, repeated possession of a weapon, threatening staff, and possessing a cellphone,” claims Paige St. John and Hailey Branson-Potts in an article for the Los Angeles Times. In my opinion, I think that these laws are effective at putting criminals and murderers away, but it does not stop people from committing these crimes. As horrible as it is to say, I truly don’t believe that murder will ever be able to be stopped. Murder has been around for centuries and was actually a part of early cultures and religions. I do believe however, we can diminish the total amount of people being killed each year. The other main topic in Charles Manson’s case is the cult. In the United States of America, cults are technically legal, due to the First Amendment in the Constitution. Cults are protected by the First Amendment because the amendment states that we have religious freedom and the right to assemble peacefully. Although it clearly states “peacefully assembly” that does not mean every cult or group is peaceful. For example, groups such as the KKK are protected by the First Amendment.

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Charles Milles Manson in American History. (2019, Jul 30). Retrieved from

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