Manson family

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NAME______________________________________________ DATE____________________



Mr. Benacquista

One of the most notorious crimes of the 20th century took place in the summer of 1969. Young and seemingly innocent “hippies” went on a savage 2-night killing spree that shocked America with its horrific and gruesome nature. Who were these killers? Why did they do it? How could they show such little remorse? Was there someone else “behind” the killers?

These questions baffled law enforcement for months, until one day in December the arrest of Charles Manson changed everything. The world got to meet the man who will forever be known as “Charlie”, the leader of a cult set on causing havoc and destruction in Southern California. The trial was sensationalized and the verdict was guilty of murder in the 1st degree. Charles Manson’s life of infamy was forever sealed in American History.

ASSIGNMENT: Each student is to write a 2 – 3 page paper chronicling the impacts of the Manson Family Murders. There are a number of different ways to approach the writing of this paper, so the following questions are a guideline to follow in organizing your thoughts:

  • How did Charles Manson’s early life influence his evil deeds as an adult?

  • What is a cult? How does one form?

  • In your opinion, can “brain-washing” in humans really occur? Why or why not?

  • How did Manson attempt to brain-wash his Family members?

  • Why were these young followers so attracted to Manson and his message?

  • Even though he never actually committed murder himself, do you think he was guilty of 1st degree murder? Why or why not?

  • What is the legacy of Charles Manson and the Family Murders? Why do you think he remains even today such a “popular” American figure?

Please understand that you DO NOT have to answer EVERY question in the paper. These are merely guides for each student to think about. Choose to answer some of these or any others you can think of that will result in the best paper possible.


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