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Emblem of the Galactic Republic
|Type||Federal Parliamentary Constitutional Republic|
19 BBY (establishment of the Galactic Empire)0 BBY, Galactic/Imperial Senate dissolved
|Fate||Reorganized into the Galactic Empire
Reformed as the New Republic following the Empire's defeat in 4 ABY
|Key people||Minister of Defense, Vice Chair, Senior Administrative Aide, Galactic Senate, Senatorial Council, General Ministry, Supreme court, regional courts|
|Currency||Galactic Standard Credit (Republic Dataries)|
|Founding document||Galactic Constitution|
The Galactic Republic, often referred to as simply the Republic, is the name of the interplanetary State used in the fictional Star Wars universe prior to the establishment of the Galactic Empire. The Republic was mainly overseen by the Senate, a body in the Legislative Branch of the Republic government, and was introduced in the prequel trilogy. By the time of the original trilogy, it is referred to as the Old Republic. It was a democratic constitutional republic tied up in layers of bureaucracy. The Galactic Republic was a republican government that was able to sustain itself for over twenty-five thousand years peacefully.
The Republic itself was formed in 25,053 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin)when the first "Galactic Constitution" was signed on Coruscant, after the Corellian Hyperdrive connected many worlds in the Core. The Republic was made up of several hundred thousands of worlds, and each planet or system had representation in the Republic Senate, which made up most of the Republic Legislative Branch and the government itself. It started off merely as an economic and protection alliance, mainly among the Core worlds. It eventually slowly expanded to the Colonies, and other outlying worlds and regions, becoming a superpower, rather than an alliance, and became the central government for the galaxy.
The Republic began as a mutual protection and economic alliance among a number of planets in the Core. Each member world or system chose a Senator to represent them in the Republic Senate, the main body of the Legislative Branch of the government. Senators were ambassadors of their homeworlds or systems. Member worlds and systems were able to maintain their governments and societies as long as it did not defy any central and core Republican laws.There were a wide variety of different local governments along the political spectrum: from monarchies to republics to hive-like communes.
When the Republic's power and influence expanded, many new areas of the galaxy were incorporated into the Republic. The Core and Colonies were the base of the Galactic Republic. A reorganization of senatorial representation occurred 1,000 BBY during the Ruusan Reformation. The most common organization for these new territories was to group regions into Sectors of about 50 inhabited worlds. Each sector is represented by a Senatorial Delegation. When the number of sectors became too large, sectors were organized into roughly a thousand regions, each represented by one delegation to the Senate.
The Senate served as the unicameral main body of the legislative branch, but had immense power over the entire Galactic Republic. The capital of the Republic, which contained the most political power and wealth, was Coruscant, with coordinates 0-0-0 in the standard galactic coordinate system, signifying its central location in the galaxy.
Inside the Senate Building, there was an area in which the Senate would debate and cast votes and make or pass bills. It contained 1,024 floating platforms, each of which contained a senator and his or her aides. Each platform in the senate represented a "sector" of the galaxy, with one senator for that sector accompanied by a delegation of aides and advisers. A few platforms represented individual worlds of high importance, or worlds bringing special pleas to the Senate. Some represented special interest groups such as the Trade Federation, and other companies, corporations, and industries. Each senatorial delegation had one vote. In the spirit of C-SPAN2, Senate cam droids, also known as Senate hovercams, were floating cam droids used in the Galactic Senate to record the legislative sessions which were either kept secret, or released to the public. 
The members of the Senate then elected a Chancellor from among their ranks who served as the Senate's presiding officer and as the Republic's de facto leader. The Chancellor was assisted by the Vice Chair, who is presumably elected in the same manner as the Chancellor; the same Vice Chair is present throughout the entire prequel trilogy. The Senate followed pseudo-parliamentary rules. Chancellor Finis Valorum was forced out of office by the Senate in a motion of no confidence, introduced by Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo, for example.
Senators received one vote in all matters, procedural and substantive. The Chancellor was elected from within the Senate for a set term. The Senate was able to give the Chancellor emergency powers in times of crisis, as well as remove him from office when necessary. The assembly was in turn divided into individual committees, each specializing in specific fields of government administration, and which were responsible for creating legislation to be reviewed by the full assembly. The Senate had some form of judicial power as well, although the Republic had a judicial branch, in which the Supreme Court was the main body. The Senate's power in this area may have been limited to trying its own members, and it most likely had only advising abilities.
The main functions of the Senate were to mediate disputes between members, provide for the common defense, create and pass laws into effect that would benefit most of the Republic, and regulate inter-system trade. The Jedi Order, although technically not officially part of the Republic, were considered the defenders of the general Republic. The Republic would often order the Jedi to specific areas of it that required assistance and was experiencing difficulties. In this way, they were eventually the unofficial police force of the Republic. They became representatives of the Senate as well, to some extent.
However, despite the seemingly organized structure of the Republic, the waning years of the Republic were a time of corruption and great social injustice. The Senate became divided between those who genuinely wished to uphold the values and ideals of the Republic and those who wished to further their own goals. After a series of weak and ineffectual Chancellors and a crisis involving the invasion of Naboo by the Trade Federation over a tariff passed by the Senate, the Republic desperately needed a capable leader.
After Senator Palpatine of Naboo became Chancellor, he increased the power of the office, from acting as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, or the Republic Military, to the institution of his personal bodyguard organization, the Red Guard. The Office of the Supreme Chancellor was given power equalling that of the Senate. The Galactic Senate also met less often, as the Chancellor was voted more emergency powers to act on his own during the time of crisis.
Eventually, many Outer Rim planets and companies left the Republic due to the amount of corruption and unfair treatment to Outer Rim worlds. Together, they formed a rebellion known as the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Some large industrial companies sided with the Confederacy, providing the Rebellion its military and its resources.
Politicians include Senators, the Supreme Chancellor, the Vice Chair of the Senate, the Administrative Aide, various Representatives from systems, and to an unofficial extent, the members of the Jedi Council. Jedi Council members held special status as they seemed to have the ability to watch Senate meetings and advise such Senators.
Palpatine and the Jedi
The Jedi functioned as the defenders of the general Republic, even though they were technically, not officially a part of the Republic. The Republic would often order the Jedi to specific areas of it that required assistance and was experiencing difficulties. In this way, they were eventually the unofficial police force of the Republic. They became representatives of the Senate as well, to some extent. The Jedi with the most authority served on the Jedi Council, among whom Yoda and Mace Windu acted as de facto leaders at the height of the Republic. Although the Senate did hold some degree of political authority over the Jedi, very little pressure was ever put on the Council before Palpatine took office and commanded that Anakin Skywalker become a member of the Council, despite the misgivings of the Jedi. While the council allowed Anakin to be on the council, they did not grant him the status of a Jedi master.
While the Republic had an Army and Navy for thousands of years, after the Rusaan Reformations, the Republic did not maintain a military except for a small force known as the Judicial Forces.
Several trade organizations represented in the Senate, such as the Trade Federation and Commerce Guild, kept armies of droids in order to protect their profits and occasionally took advantage of this, such as when the Trade Federation invaded and occupied Naboo, resulting in the Battle of Naboo. Individual sectors also maintained their own security forces, such as Naboo Security Force or the CorSec from Corellia, and these were sometimes used to combat small threats. However, there was no centralized and official military of the Republic. The Trade Federation and other cartels within the Republic, held that a Republic government which lacked significant central military power was just what they needed.
The Clone Wars changed all this. The Republic initially had no official central military to deal with the Confederacy of Independent Systems, made up of various unsatisfied Outer Rim planets and corporations. Such systems left the Republic due to the level of corruption in it, and posed a huge threat to the Republic due to some of the galaxy's large companies allying with it. A Military Creation Act was proposed, which was strongly opposed by many of the Republic's pacifist leaders, such as Padmé Amidala of Naboo, who feared the possibility of going to war. But most of the Senate was in full support of a permanent, official, and central military. Supporters of the Act included Orn Free Taa of Ryloth and Ask Aak of Malastare.
However, a Clone Army had already been created in secret on the planet Kamino ten years before, commissioned by Master Sifo-Dyas in secret, a former Jedi perceiving chaos in the galaxy. When it became clear the Confederacy had no intention of negotiating with the Republic, the Republic quickly accepted the Army made for them, and it was dubbed the Grand Army of the Republic. The Army had millions of clones, the best soldiers seen in the galaxy, equipped with the best weapons and armor at the time, along with having received intensive training and being genetically modified to be perfect. AT-TE walkers, AT-RT walkers, Clone Juggernauts, UT-ATs, and LAAT gunships were among the few vehicles made for the Army Branch, and were of high quality. Divisions were also quickly made among the troopers, each of which had specific roles. The Republic Navy was also created alongside the Army, consisting of hundreds, and thousands of various cruisers, corvettes, star destroyers, carriers, and escort cruisers. Fleets and battle groups were organized quickly, with the Republic Open Circle Fleet being the most notable fleet. Most vehicles of the Republic Military were produced by Rothana Heavy Engineering, a subsidiary of Kuat Drive Yards, which was a company that remained loyal to the Republic towards the final years of it, unlike most other galactic corporations. Blastech provided weapons used by the soldiers, and the Kaminoans mass produced clone armor. The Republic Military's enlisted soldiers were virtually all clone troopers, while the Republic Military's officers were either chosen from prestigious military officer academies for top performance, or were clone or Jedi officers. Though, Jedi only served in the Army. The High Command of the Republic Military consisted of experienced officers that proved to be capable leaders, and showed exemplary performance, most likely handpicked by the Senate itself. It also included the Supreme Chancellor himself. High Command was in charge of the entire Republic Military. The Military of the Republic was generally a combination of quality and quality, and maintained a certain level of balance. Despite all of this, the Republic's war effort was initially hindered because most of the major industrial companies in the Galaxy had, under the aegis of the Techno Union, sided with the Confederacy. These companies provided the soldiers, equipment, and vehicles for the Confederate Army. Eventually, though, the Republic became a humongous superpower in not only the economy, but finally also in the military, after years of being demilitarized. It eventually became one of the galaxy's largest superpowers, along with its successor state, the Empire. The rapid militarization of the Republic during the Clone Wars, overseen by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, had far reaching effects. The Confederacy won most battles in the first year of the Clone Wars. During the second and middle year of the Clone Wars however, the Republic managed to defend itself from Confederate attacks and retaliated with some of its own assaults, many of which were successful. During the third and final year of the Clone Wars, the Republic was winning many offensive battles in the Mid Rim, and were pushing the Confederate forces back to the Outer Rim with its "Outer Rim Sieges" campaign.
End of the Republic
By the time of The Phantom Menace, the Republic had grown unbearably corrupt. Palpatine became the Chancellor in 32 BBY after his predecessor, Finis Valorum, was voted out in a no confidence vote in a wave of protest against his handling of the conflict with the Trade Federation. Traditionally, the Chancellor could only serve a limited amount of time; however, Palpatine stayed in office much longer, due to the prolonged Separatist Crisis.
The crisis occurred when several of the Republic's member systems from the Outer Rim and various companies united in order to separate from the Republic. This unified organization became known as the Confederacy of Independent Systems, or CIS for short. Tensions between the Republic and the Separatists eventually escalated into all-out war, and the conflicts that would later be known as the "Clone Wars" began (chronicled in Attack of the Clones).
The Senate granted Palpatine emergency powers to deal with the Separatist Confederacy in a motion introduced by Representative Jar Jar Binks. Palpatine's first move, widely supported at the time, was to create a vast Military of clone troopers to serve as the Republic's fighting force against the Confederacy. The Republic had not previously needed a military, since until then any small conflicts within the Republic could be solved with the "peacekeeping" Jedi. However, the fact that the Confederacy had access to an enormous army of droid soldiers required the Republic to construct a more formal military to fight effectively.
In the ensuing years, the Senate increasingly granted enormous amounts of power to Palpatine, who was the Commander-in-Chief. Such actions were justified in the name of security, and were considered a perfectly reasonable way to increase the wartime government's efficiency. Eventually, Palpatine gained enough political power that he and his office was equal to the Senate.
Tension between Palpatine and the Jedi began to grow as the war progressed. Many members of the Jedi Council remained skeptical of Palpatine's growing power. In time, the Jedi began to believe that Palpatine would not surrender his emergancy powers and his long overdue position by the end of the war. This suspicion was also shared by some senators, including Padmé Amidala of Naboo, Bail Organa of Alderaan, and Mon Mothma of Chandrila.
After the death of Separatist leaders Count Dooku, who was the Head of State, and General Grievous, who was the Commander of the Separatist Army, and the discovery that Palpatine was actually Darth Sidious, the Jedi made their move in accordance with contingency plans already made. Darth Sidious was a name known by the Jedi Council as being the Sith Lord's name. The Sith were the ancient enemy of the Jedi, who were destroyed many years ago. A small group of experienced Jedi led by Mace Windu attempted to arrest Palpatine, for treason against the Galactic Republic, its government, and the Senate, but failed. Shortly afterwards, Palpatine secretly issued Order 66 without the approval of the Senate. Order 66 was one of the many main contingent orders clones had to follow, when given by the Republic government, and related to the extermination of the Jedi Order in the case of it acting traitorous to the Republic. As clones followed all orders from the Republic government only, and had no required loyalty to the Jedi Order, the clones executed such generals and commanders with little hesitation.
Many of the Jedi serving as officers of the Grand Army of the Republic quickly fell victim to the clone trooper forces. Such reasons why the order was effective was due to the fact clones were considered the best soldiers of the galaxy, with their training, equipment, DNA, and morale, and that the clones were simply following the command implanted in them, and there was no pure anger or hate for the Jedi to sense in the minds of the clones that served them. The Jedi remaining in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant were eliminated by the 501st Attack Battalion led by Darth Vader, before, being Anakin Skywalker, a famous Jedi General among the public who turned against the Jedi and their ways.
As the Clone Wars were entering its final year, Palpatine's once near-unanimous support began to falter. As depicted in the Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith novelization and deleted scenes from the film itself, a bloc of senators began to emerge, even before the Clone Wars had ended, who opposed Palpatine's authoritarian rule and resented his treatment of the Jedi and other opponents. This bloc, originally led by influential politicians such as Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, and later by Bail's adopted daughter Princess Leia Organa, eventually became the political voice of the emerging Rebel Alliance.
At the conclusion of the Clone Wars, Palpatine addressed the Senate. He related the story of the unsuccessful assassination attempt by the Jedi. Claiming that it was a "rebellion" and that their next move would be to kill all the Senators, he declared the Order to be enemies of the Republic. He then announced that the Galactic Republic would transition into the Galactic Empire, of which he would be the emperor. Deluded by Palpatine's charisma and skill (and perhaps also by his considerable dark side power), the majority of the Senate cheered him on loudly in approval, which provoked one of Senator Padmé Amidala's more memorable lines: "So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause."
The official continuation of the Galactic Republic would be the Galactic Empire.