One night at the Manor Farm, the farm animals gather to listen to an ageing boar named Old Major. Major tells them of the evils of Man, who takes all resources for himself and treats animals very poorly, but also lets them know that a great Rebellion will be coming soon to set things right. He also mentions a number of laws and principles that must be followed during this Rebellion.
Mr. Jones, the human farmer, is so incompetent that it leads to a situation where the animals are starving. This event triggers the Rebellion and the animals easily drive away the Jones family and their workers. The pigs rise to power in the new society because they are considered the most intelligent animals (though the other animals can still vote), and the farm is renamed Animal Farm.
Seven Commandments are written on the wall of the barn, functioning as basic laws of the new animal society. Some of the laws are designed to prevent the animals from acting like humans, while others are meant to secure equality and peace between all animals.
At first, the animals seem happy with their newfound freedom, even though there is some political rivalry between Napoleon and Snowball, the two most powerful pigs. Mr. Jones makes an attempt to take back control of his farm, but thanks to Snowball’s effective military strategy, the humans are defeated and chased away.
The rivalry between Napoleon and Snowball intensifies when Snowball announces his ambitious plan to construct a windmill. He notes that the project will be a difficult undertaking, but argues that it will eventually lead to much easier lives for all the animals. Napoleon regards the plan as completely unrealistic, however, and the matter is put to a vote. Before voting can begin, Napoleon unleashes a group of vicious dogs which he has been training in secret. Snowball flees for his life, and Napoleon effectively takes complete control of Animal Farm, putting an end to democratic voting and placing all power in the hands of a committee of pigs. To everyone’s surprise, he also announces that the windmill plan will go ahead after ...