HamilTALONS: Washington on Your Side

In the song Washington on Your Side from Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison are mockingly complaining about George Washington’s bias towards Hamilton. In the hook of the song, they imagine that “it must be nice, it must be nice / To have Washington on your side” (1-2). Burr, Jefferson, and Madison are all anti-Federalists or anti-centralized government, meaning that they believe that individual state governments should hold more power than the federal government. This is an ongoing debate between the Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, and the anti-Federalists, led by James Madison. At the end of Cabinet Battle #1, the Cabinet “agrees” to have America’s debt assumed, as opposed to having each individual state pay their own debt. Many southerners, including Jefferson and Madison, are opposed to this financial plan since the southern colonies had less or no debt due to a heavier reliance on slave labor; this financial plan is a big step towards a centralized government. Expectedly, the anti-Federalists are still unhappy with this decision, and they attribute the plan passing to Washington’s bias towards Hamilton. This song is crucial in the trajectory of the storyline since this is the point where Burr, Jefferson, and Madison’s anger builds up enough that they begin to actively work against Hamilton. They’re determined “to show these Federalists who they’re up against” by searching for evidence that Hamilton is doing anything immoral or treasonous (49). They spend hours investigating Hamilton’s financial records, in order to “follow the money and see where it goes” and eventually find records of Hamilton’s transactions to James Reynolds, which lead them to some rather troubling discoveries (54).

Connections to Historical Elements

As I discussed earlier, there has recently been a plan passed that would further centralize the American government; this is called the Funding Act of 1790.


This act is designed to help states pay off their debt from the war, but as mentioned, some states don’t have any remaining debt but still have to pay the taxes implemented. In order to pay off the debt, new taxes are implemented, such as a tax on whiskey; this tax is briefly mentioned in Cabinet Battle #1 when Jefferson tells Hamilton “when Britain taxed our tea, we got frisky / Imagine what gon’ happen when you try to tax our whiskey” (25-26).

Bill of Rights

When the anti-Federalists are concerned about Hamilton’s disregard to the Bill of Rights, they are mostly concerned with the Tenth Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Since the majority of the Bill of Rights favours a centralized government, this final amendment is added to acknowledge the views of the anti-Federalists.

Big Idea: Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies

This song is about Burr, Jefferson, and Madison’s unhappiness with Washington’s favoritism towards Hamilton; Hamilton is never even elected, Washington appoints him after seeing potential in him. The anti-Federalists see Hamilton as an “obnoxious, arrogant, loudmouth bother”, and they are tired of watching him “be seated at the right hand of the father” as he gets glorified by Washington and the general public (A Winter’s Ball, 4-5). Burr, Jefferson, and Madison all hold the very new, American mindset that hard work and determination are required to hold certain positions, and seeing Hamilton get an abundance of power largely because of Washington’s faith in him is upsetting to them. Watching Hamilton’s financial plan get passed is the final straw for these three anti-federalists; they’re sick of seeing Hamilton get favored over them, and it’s damaging their relationship with him. The unearned power advantage that Hamilton is given upsets the majority of politicians. Hamilton is already a generally disagreeable personality, but his assisted road to success afflicts not only his kinship with other politicians but also his reputation and image among them.

This Big Idea also connects to the newly passed financial plan as well as the ongoing argument about centralized government. Essentially, the cabinet is split over who should hold more power: the country, or the state. There have been previous disputes about the imbalance of power between the state governments and the federal governments, which is the birth of the anti-Federalist vs Federalist battle for hegemony. The anti-Federalists believe that the state governments should hold an almost equal amount of power to that of the Federal government, essentially making America a group 13 colonies, as opposed to one country composed of 13 colonies. On the other hand, the Federalists believe that America should function as a group, and the states should make smaller, less impactful decisions for themselves. In other words, many are in disagreement about how the power should be distributed between the state and the country.

Guided Question

Look back to the Bill of Rights / Which I wrote / The ink hasn’t dried. (21-23)

The Bill of Rights is a newly signed document. The founding fathers all agreed on these rules, and Madison, one of the main writers, disagrees with the way that Hamilton is treating it. They say that Hamilton is abusing his power, and disregarding the Bill of Rights. This can be compared to the way that parliament felt towards King Charles before the English Civil War. Most politicians feel that Hamilton is abusing his power and therefore going against the Bill of Rights. The fact that Hamilton is an immigrant likely plays into his peers’ discontent. Since “the American dream” is still a relatively new concept, many don’t like the fact that Hamilton came from humble beginnings. 

I’m in the cabinet, I am complicit in / Watching him grabbin’ at power and kissing’ it / If Washington isn’t gon’ listen / To disciplined dissidents, this is the difference: /  This kid is out! (39-43)

This line shows that Jefferson is tired of watching Hamilton overpower himself. Jefferson feels that by watching Hamilton abuse his position without taking action, he’s complicit. He feels that he needs to take a stand in order to solve this injustice. Earlier in the song, Burr and Madison respond to Jefferson’s claim that “[he has] to resign” by telling him that “If there’s a fire [he’s] trying to douse / [he] can’t put it out from inside the house” (34, 36-38). They essentially mean to say that there’s no way to put an end to Hamilton’s wrongdoings without leaving the cabinet and pursuing a higher position. In this line, Jefferson states that he’s resigning from the cabinet by saying “This kid is out!” (42).

The emperor has no clothes. (63)

This line is an allegory describing the public’s refusal to publicly recognize Hamilton’s misdeeds. In Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes, the emperor is given a suit and told that it’s invisible to anyone who’s incompetent or undeserving of their accomplishments. In reality, there’s no suit, but no one, including the emperor, is willing to admit that they don’t see it. It would just take one person to point out the lies at hand, but no one is willing to be the first voice heard. In Hamilton’s situation, this line implies that everyone sees that Hamilton is unfit, unqualified, and incapable of the role he’s been given, but no one is willing to publicly admit it in fear of seeming foolish. Throughout this song, Burr, Madison, and Jefferson are talking about how they’re all unanimously tired of Hamilton, and they’re willing to work against him. When Jefferson says this line, he is essentially saying that the public agrees with their view and Hamilton, they just haven’t said it yet.

These three lines all relate to Burr, Madison, and Jefferson wanting to undermine Hamilton. All three of these quotes demonstrate how much power and influence mean to the revolutionists. This theme is evident in Hamilton and is mentioned many times through discussions of legacy. There’s also an underlying tone of annoyance towards Hamilton, an immigrant, being so high in the political system. The American ideology of “work hard for success” is a new idea and despite the anti-Federalists’ agreement with this philosophy, it’s also implied that they feel small amounts of dismay towards a poor, illegitimate, orphan immigrant working his way up the system; in Britain, Hamilton would never have been given such an influential platform. This implication is woven into many lyrics in Hamilton as well as Lin Manuel Miranda’s other work and may be a subtle comment on the current political climate in America.

Additional notes on the significance behind the lyrics of “Washington on Your Side”

Works Cited

“Cabinet Battle #1.” Genius, 25 Sept. 2015, genius.com/7927272.
“Debt Assumption.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 Dec. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt_Assumption.
Miranda, Lin-Manuel, and Jeremy McCarter. Hamilton: the Revolution. Melcher Media, 2016.
Smentkowski, Brian P. “Tenth Amendment.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 7 Feb. 2019, http://www.britannica.com/topic/Tenth-Amendment.
“The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Book Reports, http://www.bookreports.info/the-emperors-new-clothes-summary/.
“Washington on Your Side.” Genius, 25 Sept. 2015, genius.com/7927389.


Notes and Script

Works Cited

AquariumStoreDepot. (n.d.). Best RODI Systems – 2019 Reviews (What’s Best for your Saltwater Tank). Retrieved from https://aquariumstoredepot.com/blogs/news/best-rodi-system-reviews

Kershner, K. (2018, March 08). How Reverse Osmosis Works. Retrieved from https://science.howstuffworks.com/reverse-osmosis.htm

Myers, C. (2019, March 12). What Minerals Does a Plant Need to Grow? Retrieved from https://www.gardenguides.com/98709-minerals-plant-need-grow.html

UNDERSTANDING RO WATER FILTRATION & PURIFICATION. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.espwaterproducts.com/understanding-ro/

What is Deionized Water? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://puretecwater.com/deionized-water/what-is-deionized-water

What is the acceptable TDS level of drinking water ? (2018, February 21). Retrieved from http://awaterpurifier.com/acceptable-tds/

Independent Exploration: Canada – The 7 Years War

Historical Significance

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham was a monumental battle leading to the victory of the English over the French, creating an end to an age-old rivalry and consequently forming the nation of Canada. By studying the advantages on both sides, we can further understand the battle and its elements. The terrain of the battleground, as well as the history and nature of the opposing armies are all elements that can alter the battle in a crucial way. By analyzing the way that these affected the battle, we can truly understand all of the components that lead to the formation of our country. Historians can also look back at past battles such as this one and use them to prepare for the future.

French fort

“dsc_1092”by bugg_tb is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Cause and Consequence

This battle began largely because of the 7 Years War and Britain and France’s were competing for power, Amidst the conflict in (and around) Europe, the war began to move overseas to New France and North America. The British and French had already fought battles and conquered forts in New France, but The Battle of the Plains of Abraham is arguably the most crucial battle of the 7 Years War. This was a main turning point for Britain’s possession of New France and eventually, the formation of Canada. Britain had always planned to obtain New France, and this battle was a crucial part of doing so.

But long-term goals weren’t the only catalyst for this battle. Britain and France had long been on opposite sides of the 7 Years War, which was mostly fought in Europe. Britain wanted to overtake France by acquiring commercial control in North America, especially with the opposing French and British fur companies. Britain wanted to not only gain revenue from the fur trade and transport from North America, but to lessen France’s revenue by driving them out of the fur trade. Since Quebec City was evidently a main hub of New France, it was undoubtedly the target for Britains attacks. While the French troops in New France were diminished and preoccupied with the war overseas, Britain decided to attack.

Hudson's Bay Furs Are Incomparable (1922)

“Hudson’s Bay Furs Are Incomparable (1922)”by pkdon50 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham was crucial in the formation of Canada; it’s safe to say that our nation may not have formed without it. This battle led to Britain’s possession of Quebec City in 1759, and they soon acquired Montreal in 1760 as well. Once Britain had possession of these two main areas of New France, it was no surprise that they seized New France in 1763. However, by this time, the French had already lain deep roots in the area. We can still clearly see the effects of the French settlements left behind, not only in Quebec, but also in Acadia and the rest of the country (eg. official language). There are still many people in Canada with the biological French roots left behind including Québécois, Acadians, Metis, and more. So in summation, this battle not only led to Canada becoming a country, but also laid down the roots that made, and still make Canada what it is as a nation.

Acadian Lighthouse
Acadian lighthouse

“Acadian Lighthouse”by Cynnerz Photos is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Ethical Judgement

From the research I’ve done, it seems as if this was a normal, common battle with the same ethical practices as any battle today. However, I’ve learned in the past that controversial parts of history are often ill reported on. One instance that stands out to me is the way that the New France inhabitants interacted with the indigenous people in the area. I know from previous knowledge that colonizers have a notoriously bad relationship with indigenous peoples, but I wouldn’t be able to infer this from many of the sources I’ve analyzed. This is just one example of many showing that history may not have occurred the way that we believe it did.

Our view of history is often distorted by the primary sources we learn from. For example, we learn a lot about New France and related topics through journals and diaries. But when people are writing accounts of their own lives, they often embellish and rectify their writing to make it seem as if they are in the right. The colonizers that wrote our primary sources may only include the “good” details of their lives, which is why journals/ diaries are a flawed source. Although not to say that we should never use these sources, because they often supply us with raw details we wouldn’t be able to access otherwise. But it’s important to ensure that we look at issues from both sides, and the perspective that journals are written from sometimes make this more difficult. Personal writings also tend to be riddled with biases, which are hard for the reader to see past.

Ancestry.co.uk - The Times (London, England)_1297165776263

“Ancestry.co.uk – The Times (London, England)_1297165776263”by doustpauline of > \\whatwhenwhere/ is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0


It’s also important to note that many secondary sources will only report on the facts that they choose to. This is another simple way that society’s view of historical events can be influenced by biases. For example, many sources may refuse to report on the colonizers’ mistreatment of the indigenous people. This is why it’s crucial to take information from myriad sources with different perspectives and viewpoints, instead of looking at a few sources with the same bias.  

To answer the question, I would say that my research points towards good ethical practices during this time period. However, it’s important to remember that research and our view of history are often convoluted by biases included in primary sources. It’s incredibly difficult to see through different biases when reading through journals and other writings, especially when we have very few other accounts to examine.

Inquiry Process

How did the British overcome the natural and terrestrial advantages of the French during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham?

The Plains of Abraham are right outside the walls of Quebec City. The battlefield was on a hill, with the higher end being away from the city walls. The British chose to position themselves closest to Quebec City, which was also the lowest ground. It’s a well-known fact that the lower ground is virtually always disadvantaged in a battle. This left the French with the higher ground, which gave them a huge terrestrial advantage. However, this advantage didn’t stop the British from coming out on top.

Screen Shot 2019-05-31 at 12.30.44 AM
Illustration and legend by Malcom Jones, 2005. Source: https://www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/exhibitions/gallery1/images/map3_31_lrg_e.pdf

It’s said that the British troops were much more prepared to battle than the French troops. This is largely due to the French’s preoccupation with the war overseas in Europe. When the British began invading New France, the French troops were unprepared, missing a number of their soldiers, and disorganized. The British, however, were extremely prepared. They also remained very calm throughout the battle; some sources describe them as le calme dans la colere” or “calm during anger”. In juxtaposition to the French’s disorganization and fluster, the British’s stoic exterior was an effective battle technique. The British formed a “wall” blocking the French from the city walls, and each soldier was replaced immediately after getting shot down.

Fire at will

“Fire at will”by gpparker is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The biggest advantage that the French had was the group of indigenous people who were fighting alongside them. The French had made alliances with certain tribes, which revolutionized indigenous battles in many ways — some positive, some negative. In exchange, the tribes agreed to help the French in battles against the British. Due to their extensive experience with hunting, the indigenous people knew how to move around silently and without detection. According to French naval officer Louis-Guillaume de Parsacau du Plessis, “[the indigenous people] do not fight normally, but entrenched behind trees of a mound of earth. […] They conceal themselves so perfectly that it is impossible to see them, even in a completely cleared area”. This made them extremely skilled and valuable fighters, and they were highly beneficial for the French not only in The Battle of the Plains of Abraham, but in many other disputes as well.

Indigenous person pictured with firearm

“HC03181”by Community Archives of Belleville & Hastings County is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

Despite this huge advantage for the French, the British still dominated the battle immensely. As previously discussed, the British were much more prepared for this battle, and this was the advantage that eventually put them on top. Although the French had the higher ground, the British’s lack of action prompted Montcalm to order the French to charge, subsequently abandoning the high ground and losing their advantage. It was during this charge that the majority of the 1300+ casualties occurred. It was also around this time that Montcalm was killed. This was essentially the charge that led to Britain’s possession of Quebec City. 



Works Cited

Eccles, William John. “Seven Years War.” Seven Years War | The Canadian Encyclopedia, 7 Feb. 2006, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/seven-years-war.

Marshall, abitha. “Battle of the Plains of Abraham.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 7 Feb. 2006, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/battle-of-the-plains-of-abraham.

Stevenson, Robert. “Battle for Canada.” WarMuseum.ca – Wars on Our Soil, Earliest Times to 1885 – The Seven Years’ War, http://www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/exhibitions/gallery1/clash3_e.html.

Wilson, Shane. “Wolfe vs Montcalm.” Early Canada Historical Narratives — Battle On The Plains of Abraham, http://www.uppercanadahistory.ca/wm/wm8.html.

Ecological Footprint

My original ecological footprint score was 3.74 hectares. Compared to Jian’s score, 2.37, I have a relatively high score. However, compared to Kate’s score, 7.2, my score seems pretty low. I feel that I had a pretty average score, perhaps a bit on the lower end. My score was also influenced by the activities I did the weekend I recorded; I recorded my activity during the Juan De Fuca overnight practice hike, so I didn’t have the same resources as I usually would. This likely influenced my score noticeably.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about things I do that increase the size of my footprint. I’ve noticed and have been trying to reduce my:

  1. Use of single use plastic products
  2. Use of single use cotton/ paper products
  3. Long showers
  4. Consumption of meat (especially red meat such as beef)
  5. Driving to school up to 3 times a week
  6. Wearing mostly first-hand clothing
  7. Eating food with individual packaging
  8. Baths
  9. Use of public transport for short distances
  10. Getting food delivery (lots of packaging + transportation)

Although I’ve been trying to reduce my footprint as much as possible, I’ve focused on reducing my:

  1. Use of first-hand clothing – second hand clothing is both low cost and reduces waste. I’ve been trying to shop at second hand shop like Value Village and also donate my clothing when possible.
  2. Shower time – reducing my time in the shower is an easy way to influence my footprint greatly. I’ve been trying to keep my showers to about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Consumption of meat – meat, especially red meat influenced my footprint greatly. I’ve been trying to use vegetarian or vegan alternatives or simply cutting it out of my lifestyle.
  4. Use of car for transportation – I can avoid driving to school easily by waking up early or packing up the night before. I’ve been trying to be more organized with getting ready in the morning in order to walk to school more.
  5. Use of single use plastic products – I can easily reduce my use of single use plastic products by using reusable or compostable alternatives, or simply cutting it out of my lifestyle. I’ve been investing in reusable water bottles, cups, straws, and other necessities in order to reduce my plastic consumption.

At first, I was a bit worried that it would be difficult to reduce my ecological footprint. However, I realized that I could make major changes in my footprint by making minor changes in my life. Buying second-hand clothing, taking shorter showers, and walking to school more. I realized that although it may seem daunting, reducing my footprint wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.

Probably the hardest change to make was reducing my meat consumption, which I’m still working on. Although I haven’t stopped my intake of meat entirely, I’ve been consciously trying to eat other alternatives when possible. However, its difficult to change this, since it’s a big part of my lifestyle. Recently, I’ve just been looking for an alternative whenever possible, but I hope to reduce my consumption more as time goes on.

It was also difficult to reduce my plastic use since many companies use lots of plastic or foil in their packaging. But I’ve been trying to combat this my simply trying brands with less packaging, or using my own alternative.

In the future, I’m hoping to continue what I’ve started and also reduce my footprint further by:

  1. Further reducing my intake of meat
  2. Walking to school virtually every day
  3. Buying the majority of my new clothing second-hand
  4. Using more alternatives to single use products

I’m really passionate about reducing my footprint and I know that preserving the planet is a crucial and pressing matter. I’m happy with the work I’ve done so far, but I’m also hoping to improve greatly in the near future.

In-Depth #6 – Final Post!

In the past few weeks, I’ve completed my second recording, and I’m beginning my third. At this rate, I’m seriously considering cutting my original plan of four recordings down to three recordings. My first recording was more challenging and time-consuming than I expected, so I lost a lot of time during that phase.

Aside from this, my project is going very well. I just completed my second recording, which I recorded alone due to time constraints. The biggest challenge with this recording was the repetitive nature of the song and making sure that there’s variation among the verses. I made sure to use software to create myriad percussive effects and variation, as well as variation throughout the bassline. I’m happy with the way it turned out, and I’m excited to continue my project.

Screen Shot 2019-05-06 at 8.52.00 PM
This recording is mostly made up of software instruments (green tracks) with a few fundamental audio recordings (blue tracks).

I’m in the process of setting up a recording date for my next recording. At this busy time of year, it’s difficult to find time to record with another person. Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking a lot about new elements I could be including in this next piece. Since this could possibly be my last recording, I’m really hoping to learn a lot of new skills with it.

Chapter 9: At one of my recent meetings, we discussed how to create variation throughout a recording. As I mentioned, I struggled with changing percussive patterns etc in my last recording. When I finished my “rough draft” of this recording, it sounded very similar throughout the song. We discussed which elements I could modify (percussion, bass, etc) in order to create more variation. I ended up adding more percussion (vibraphone, tambourine) as well as some new bass patterns.

At another meeting, we discussed the act of balancing between the artist’s wishes and my wishes. Since, in a way, I am also producing these recordings, it’s vital that I learn how to respect the artist’s vision as well as my own.

Chapter 10: Since music production tends to be quite artistic, my mentor and I have discussed many alternate ways I could achieve a certain sound. We’ve also discussed how there are many different effects I could use to change the quality/ sound of the vocals.

I’m excited about the direction my project is heading, and I’m looking forward to creating my presentation. I’m planning to create a short video of excerpts from each of my songs with audio as well as a video of the tracks on the screen. With each excerpt, I’ll include a short 1-2 sentence explanation on the song and how I created it.

I’m looking forward to completing my first TALONS In-Depth project! I’m really happy about the progress I’ve made so far, and I’m excited to complete my recordings.

A Day in the Life of a Peasant

My dearest Rohesia,

The days have been longer without you. Life has been the same, bland and colourless; the only hope in sight is your returning. It seems as if the crops have noticed your absence since the harvest this year has been scarce. Despite this, we are still holding on. It’s difficult, as most of the days begin to look the same.

I wake up to the familiar scent of manure and cattle. I sigh deeply as I push myself off of our makeshift bed and brush off my week old cotton skirt. The wool on my stockings itches, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I stretch as I admire my crops and watch the early birds harvest theirs. I brush myself off before heading to the corner where my handmade tools lie. I always begin with the reaping, so I grab my sickle. Most days, we don’t have enough food for breakfast, so I head out the door, remembering the meals we had when you were here.

Once outside, I begin my short walk towards the crops. I start by reaping the crops, eventually moving onto sowing. By the time I complete the strenuous task of tending to the crops, the day is nearly approaching dusk. I head back towards the house, the muddy walls appearing evermore bland.

Since I’m the oldest now, I get back sooner to prepare dinner. I dip my hands in the stream behind the house as I watch the traces of dirt fade from my hands and head downstream. After I lift my hands out of the water, I shake them dry before heading into the house to prepare the bread and porridge. It only takes several minutes for everyone else to arrive, their eyes are as shallow and tired as I imagine my own to be. Unfortunately, we only have a small loaf of bread for the 9 of us, but we could make do. We ate the bread in silence as I pondered what other meals we would have soon.

Realistically, we won’t have any food other than bread, plain stew, or fruit, but I look forward to the next time we could have ale— even if my last taste was years ago, I could still taste the pleasant tingling on my tongue. I sighed, breaking the silence.

Since you’ve left, we’ve been struggling to feed the family. Without your presence, there’s a an emptiness noticeable in our family; although we are fed adequately and healthily, our spirit is drained and hollow without you. I just pray that we’ll have enough food until the next harvest.

After dinner, we migrate to the other side of the room— the sleeping area. Once everyone is on their correct mats, we lay in silence until dawn.

Animal Farm


Is it more important to have a strong ideology or a strong leader for revolution to occur? What tactics to leaders use to convince others of their ideologies?

Strong leaders and strong ideologies are both crucial elements of an effective revolution. Ultimately, revolutions begin because there’s a strong ideology that many people agree with; with a weak ideology, the revolution will never gain enough momentum to begin. On the other hand, without strong leaders who are willing to fight, ideas will stay unheard and the revolution will never start. A lack of either of these elements will be problematic and will likely result in a failed revolution. While lacking a strong leader, the new ideology will never be heard, and there will be no change. While lacking a strong ideology, the revolutionists will likely get attention but there will never be enough passion to make a change. If a weak ideology did manage to be implemented, it would likely be challenged and eradicated quickly.

To answer the question, it’s hard to say whether ideology or leadership is more crucial in a revolution. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the pigs began the revolution, and are unanimously recognized as the leaders on the farm. The animals were united by their common yearning for freedom, and the pigs pushed for their idea to be implemented. Old Major inspired the animals by telling them that if they “remove Man from the scene, [then] the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever” (p 2). After their freedom was granted, the resources were spread equitably throughout the animals. However, as time goes on, the pigs begin to manipulate the other animals by reminding them that they are responsible for the farm’s freedom, and that “if [the] pigs failed in [their] duty […] Jones would come back” (p 11). The rest of the farm is grateful for the pigs’ leadership, blind towards the inequalities they’re experiencing. Although the pigs began the revolution, they’re beginning to lose sight of the initial ideology the animals all shared; the pigs’ leadership is beginning to stray from the basis of Animalism. In this case, the leadership from the pigs was enough to get the ideas implemented, but eventually cause the initial ideology to be lost. The power imbalance between animals and humans simply shift to an imbalance between pigs and other animals.


To what extent to power and privilege, or lack thereof, affect the beliefs and actions of individuals in a revolution?

In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, many of the animals’ willingness to cooperate in the revolution was heavily influenced by the way that the humans treat them. For example, Mollie the horse is very reluctant to join the revolution since the humans treat her with a respect that the other animals don’t get. Clover even claims that “[he] saw […][One of Mr. Pilkington’s men][…] talking to [Mollie] and [she was] allowing him to stroke [her] nose” (p 14). Mollie is never very enthusiastic about the revolution, and she shows more and more signs of disloyalty until she eventually defects. Although she may not notice, the things that she takes for granted are rights that the other animals on the farm don’t have. Snowball tries to reason with her by explaining that “[the] ribbons that [she is] so devoted to are the badge of slavery”; he asks if “[Mollie can] not understand that liberty is worth more than ribbons?” and “Mollie [agrees], but she [does] not sound very convinced” (p 6). After the revolution, she misses the prime treatment that she once had, so she is the first to defect back to the humans when “the pigeons [report] that they had seen her on the other side of Willingdon […] standing outside a public−house […] [with a] man […] stroking her nose and feeding her with sugar” (p 14). Although the other animals have a better life after the revolution, she never noticed, because she was too focused on her own treatment and the respect she used to have.


In your opinion, was the revolution successful? Were any other available to bring the animals’ desired change? If so, what might have been done? If so, what might have been done? If not, why was the revolution inevitable?

In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the animals’ revolution was successful in obtaining the freedom the animals unanimously desired. However, it’s evident that the initial foundation of their ideology was lost gradually over time, until the farm found itself in the same unjust environment as before— this time with pigs as tyrants. Although the pigs are seen abusing their power throughout the plot, it isn’t until the end of the novella, during the pigs’ card game with the humans, that the pigs truly become equal with humans. The animals witnessing this find that “[looking] from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; […] it was impossible to say which was which” (p 42). This doesn’t necessarily suggest that the pigs are becoming physically humanoid, but rather signifies that the other animals have found themselves in the same situation as before the initial revolution. This slow descent back into oppression transpired throughout the story and is subtly revealed multiple times. For example, the animals have a small disagreement about several pails of milk. All of the animals want some, but the pigs tell them to “never mind the milk, […] that will be attended to” (p 9). However, “when [the animals come] back in the evening it [is] noticed that the milk [has] disappeared”, leading us to believe that the pigs used the milk for their own enjoyment (ibid.). This is the first of many signs that the pigs are beginning to abuse their power.

Despite these multiple abuses of power, it’s clear that the revolution was initially successful. There was a time when the animals lived virtually equal. Before the initial revolution, Old Major told the farm that “[he does] not know when that Rebellion will come, it might be in a week or in a hundred years, but [he knows][…] that sooner or later justice will be done” (p 3). This could apply to life after the revolution as well, when the farm is tired of being exploited by the pigs. Old Major may be suggesting that the oppressed will always stand up against the oppressors. It may take eons to occur, but there will always be a power shift once the abused are ready to stand up to their abusers. True freedom can never be achieved with unchanging leadership; leaders will always begin to abuse their power. Revolutions are inevitable, and when the revolutionists come into power, they will inevitably be overthrown again. Perhaps Old Major was not simply telling the farm to stand up to the humans, but to stand up to anyone who is mistreating them.