Understanding Manson: Crime, Murder, and Cults

This is part two of a sample research paper on the cult of Charles Manson. The paper focuses on labeling theory as a means of explanation for the crimes.

Source: www.ultius.com

Charles Manson was constantly exposed to and surrounded by criminals. Spending most of his life in the jaws of the criminal justice system; he never had the opportunity to experience what mainstream society would call a normal life. Instead, his support system of confidants and friends were all fellow criminals and social deviants, and he lived a life in which both current and former inmates would regale him with tales of criminal debauchery and opulence. At no point in his life did Manson ever experience positive reinforcement or a beneficial interaction from authority; indeed, prison guards taunted him over his rape by fellow inmates as a young boy. Manson’s self-proclaimed heroes were ‘the guys who got away with the biggest bank heist… the mobsters who defied the system that was keeping me locked up.’ Both the formal labeling of Manson as a social deviant from a young age and the repeated exposure to the criminal mindset created a man who sought self-actualization in the illegal pursuit of wealth and power and who saw himself as a creature where criminality was his calling.

Helter Skelter (1976 film)


Charles Manson is a unique character in American history. As a Doomsday cult leader, criminal, and murderer, he created a system of values that attracted a substantial number of very dedicated followers that would not hesitate to do his bidding. Founder of the Family, an apocalyptic racist organization centered around the coming ‘Helter Skelter (Manson scenario)’ or ‘Helter Skelter’ doomsday race war, Manson mixed criminality with excessive drug use and radical rhetoric to attract and seduce many young dysfunctional American youths with his ideals. Charismatic and a powerful figure, Manson influenced his followers to commit horrific crimes under the guise of his extremist philosophy. Labeled as a social deviant from a young age, Manson created his own self-fulfilling prophecy by ensuring he remained in the criminal sphere until his eventual incarceration.

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