For over a thousand years, the Galactic Republic stood firm as a democratic union that governed the galaxy. The Republic was governed by the Galactic Senate, consisting of elected officials from each system and world, and Jedi Knights served as peacekeepers. With the rise of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, however, the Galactic Republic -- and democracy -- would crumble.
At the height of its rule, the Galactic Republic was governed by a body of Senators representing the many worlds of the galaxy. Within the cavernous Senate rotunda, hundreds of politicians would fill the viewing platforms that lined the curved walls. The Senate’s power gradually eroded after it voted emergency powers to Supreme Chancellor Palpatine during the Clone Wars, and the body was sharply divided between supporters of the war and those seeking peace. After Palpatine declared himself Emperor, power was increasingly wielded by regional governors. Shortly before the Battle of Yavin, Palpatine disbanded the Senate.
A member of the elite Senate Guard commandos, Captain Argyus was tasked with overseeing the transport of an important Republic prisoner: Separatist mastermind Nute Gunray. Gunray's wealth and the careful manipulation of Darth Sidious ensured that Argyus' loyalties wandered. Argyus betrayed the Republic, and ensured Gunray's escape from the cruiser Tranquility.
A well-meaning civil servant whose chancellorship was hampered by corruption in the Senate and bureaucratic snarls, Valorum secretly turned to the Jedi Knights for help breaking the Trade Federation's blockade of Naboo. But Valorum was betrayed by Naboo's Senator Palpatine, who maneuvered Queen Amidala into asking the Senate for a no-confidence vote in the Supreme Chancellor's leadership. A stunned Valorum was removed from office in favor of Palpatine.
Scheming, powerful, and evil to the core, Darth Sidious restored the Sith and destroyed the Jedi Order. Living a double life, Sidious was in fact Palpatine, a Naboo Senator and phantom menace. He slowly manipulated the political system of the Galactic Republic until he was named Supreme Chancellor -- and eventually Emperor -- ruling the galaxy through fear and tyranny.