Essay Sample on Charles Manson's Murders and Sociological Theories

Published: 2022-04-06
Essay Sample on Charles Manson's Murders and Sociological Theories
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Sociology Criminal law Biography
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 910 words
8 min read

In most cases, criminologists including other people try to understand what causes crimes. Correspondingly, they try to understand the extent, control, and nature of the crimes. A crime is any involvement by an individual which will result in breaching the legal frameworks governing a country or any other entity. An individual who engages in any criminal activity is subject to various judicial processes whether contemporary or traditional. The result of such in most cases is a verdict that will see the individual paying for the crimes. Over the years, there have emerged various theories as people try to understand time. One of these is the sociological theories which emphasize on the fact that people reside in social clusters; therefore, it is through these social configurations that impact their behavior. Thus it can play a part in leading them into getting involved in criminal activities.

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Charles Manson was the "Father" of the Manson family which resided in California during the 1960s.On August 9th, 1969, the family hit national headlines after its members; Watson, Atkins, Kasabian, and Krewinkle murdered Sharon Tate, an actress, and four other people. On the following day, members of the family similarly killed the LaBianca's this time, in the presence of their leader, Manson. The family was later involved in a series of other assaults and murders.

According to Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990), they argue direct control is an essential element for one to offer effective parenting to their children. Through this, an individual will have the ability to attain self-control which will make them commit or refrain from engaging in criminal activity. According to the two authors, an individual will only participate in any form of crime if an opportunity exists. Individuals who tend to suffer from low self-control will have higher chances of getting involved in criminal behavior. For restraint to be small, it is an indication that it develops while an individual is still young and they remain in that condition until one attains adulthood. The root of this is traced back to poor parenting techniques ( Gottfredson and Hirschi,1990).Any parent who will monitor the behavior of the child and have the ability to correct any deviant conduct when it transpires will produce a child with low self-control. Tracing back Manson's childhood, his mother, Kathleen Maddox was 16 years at the time of his birth. She was later sent to jail for auto theft, and Mason was left at the care of his grandmother. Despite his grandmother being religious and strict, Manson did not end up being a well-behaved individual. He later rejoined his mother, and it is here that he started engaging in crime. According to Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990), Manson's poor upbringing made him develop low self-control thus his engagement in crime. In the case of his family, Manson would pick up young girls who were damaged but not completely broken. Most of his other followers included teenagers who had various conflicts at their homes and thus had been neglected by their families. It is an indication that the parents of such children had poor parenting skills. As such, the authority figure they sought from their parents was resented by Manson who manipulated their lack of self-control into committing criminal activities.

Additionally, through interactions with other individuals having criminal records, one will have the ability to learn the motives, techniques, attitudes, and values associated with criminal behaviors (Sutherland et al.,1995).Through the Differential Association theory by Sutherland, it emphasizes on how persons learn to become criminal and not why they choose such a path. According to this theory, an individual in most instances will select a way of law-breaking if the balance of criminal activities exceeds those of law-abiding. The frequency of such will further become enhanced if one has an active criminal related individual around. If a person is introduced to such a group and at an early stage, they will most likely follow in the footsteps of the active person. However, the time that an individual becomes exposed to such interactions is crucial for one to engage in criminal activities (Sutherland et al., 1995).As seen from the Charles Manson murders, he was a criminal and begun the vice while still young. By the time Manson started to unite a family, he had spent most of his life in correctional institutions. In prison, he could learn social manipulation skills from other names. He similarly used his grandmother's religious background in manipulating people and mind control. Manson would ask his family members to let go of their ego, and it is only those who were willing to sacrifice that will become part of his family. In his sessions, Manson told his followers that he was their only hope and nothing was terrible as a society had limited people from engaging in some actions. Manson moved his followers from one location to the other. He set rules that the followers had to adhere. In his sessions, he corrupted the minds of his followers by telling them to kill for him and that they would one day come to rule the world. It is an indication that the Manson murders have a link to the Differential Association theory by Sutherland. The followers only began engaging in criminal activities after associating with Charles Manson.


Gottfredson, M.R., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A general theory of crime. Stanford University Press

Sutherland, E.H., Cressey, D.R. & Luckenbill, D. (1995). The theory of differential association. Deviance: symbolic interactionist approach, 64-68

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