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The animals, led by Napoleon and the other pigs, take control of the farm during Chapter II. Once the animals have seized control, Napoleon and the other pigs begin the task of consolidating authority. The first thing Napoleon does to solidify his position as leader is to codify acceptable behavior on the farm. His seven commandments provide the rules by which society on the farm must abide. Using the ability to impose a set of rules on the animal population places Napoleon in his leadership position.
In the following chapters, the animals work quite happily. It is not until Chapter V that Napoleon encounters the first threat to his control. While Snowball makes the seemingly innocent suggestion to build a windmill on the farm, Napoleon perceives it as a threat to his position. As the leader, any improvement should originate from him. In the political battle that ensues, Napoleon has Snowball removed from the farm; in addition, he has Squealer fabricate and circulate the story that Snowball was a criminal. By doing this, he removes a political enemy, but he also ensures the loyalty of the animal population. Setting himself up as the protector of the state, any questioning of his authority or his decisions becomes an attack on the state.
In Chapter VIII, when Boxer, the old carthorse, is taken ill, Napoleon is faced with a problem. Boxer, as all of the other animals realize, had spent many years tirelessly working for the good of the farm. While Napoleon wants to take Boxer away to die, he must handle the situation carefully to avoid any insubordination from the other animals. With this in mind, Squealer comes to the animals and informs them that Napoleon has had Boxer taken to the hospital to receive the necessary care. This action is important in that it maintains the animals' perception of Napoleon as a benevolent ruler who has their best interests at heart. In doing so, his leadership over the other animals becomes very secure.
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