George Orwell fashioned Old Major on two historical figures: Karl Marx, the German philosopher and political economist, and Vladimir Ulyanov (political alias Lenin), the Russian revolutionary leader.
Having lived as a homeless person himself in order to experience life at its lowest level, Orwell eked out a living as a dishwasher, and his contact with unemployed men turned him toward socialism. He also grew disturbed about the spread of dictatorships and he became disillusioned with Communism. Because of this disillusionment, Orwell wrote Animal Farm.
Old Major is devoted to the overthrow of the capitalist society of Mr. Jones and the liberation of the proletariat, represented by the farm animals. He encourages the animals to eliminate their real enemy, who is man:
Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever.
Like Lenin, Old Major calls for "Rebellion" from the "tyranny of humans" because humans consider only their own desires and needs. "Man serves the interest of no creature except himself." He calls for unity among the animals and perfect comradeship. He instructs the animals that they must never tyrannize other animals or kill any other animal: "All animals are equal." He teaches the other animals a "stirring tune" called "Beasts of England."