Rules are often thought of as a way to maintain generally accepted notions of order. Traditions might be thought of as a way of remembering one’s debt to the past, of re-affirming one’s values. Yet in Animal Farm, both function mainly as political tools. The commandments and the traditions set up immediately after the Rebellion are meant to unite and energize the animals. Yet both rules and traditions prove malleable (easily changeable), and the animals can't understand that these customs are being used to deceive and take advantage of them.
The shifting rules, customs, and traditions of Animal Farm can be traced to parallel the decay of Animalism and the ideals of old Major.
Although the pigs have many ways of oppressing the other animals, the use of laws and traditions is the most powerful tool.