It is no coincidence that Orwell named this character Napoleon.
His name is reminiscent of the historical Napoleon, who became the all-powerful, autocratic Emperor of the French. Like his French counterpart, Napoleon seems to embody the idea that with power comes corruption. (enotes, Animal Farm character analysis, Napoleon) This quote can be found here: http://www.enotes.com/animal-farm/napoleon
Although the animals do not realize it, they are actually working for Napoleon from the start. Napoleon sees what is likely to happen as a result of Old Major’s speech and Jones’s neglect, and works to capitalize on his reputation for “depth of character” (ch 1). Every move Napoleon makes is designed to slowly cement his power—so slowly in fact that most animals are unaware of it. They think Napoleon is acting in their best interests, and not his own.
Napoleon is cunning and patient. He makes sure that the other animals associate him with leadership and positive things at first. After the animals rebel and kick Jones and the humans out, “Napoleon then led them back to the store-shed and served out a double ration of corn to everybody, with two biscuits for each dog” (ch 2).
Napoleon then leads the animals on a tour of the farmhouse, calls the animals to the harvest, has the “Animal Farm” sign painted, and puts up the Seven Commandments. At the same time, he tells the animals not to worry about where the milk is going. Clearly, the animals were working for Napoleon from the beginning.
Napoleon cleverly allows Snowball and Squealer to remain in the spotlight, quietly working from behind the scenes. For example, he lets Snowball create the ideas, and has the persuasive Squealer serve as his mouthpiece. Meanwhile, he works behind the scenes training the puppies to be his private security force, and working with the pigs to solidify his power.
For more on Napoleon, read here: http://www.enotes.com/animal-farm/napoleon
For the full text of Animal Farm, read here: http://www.george-orwell.org/Animal_Farm/0.html