Before a cruel and ruthless Empire arose, the Galactic Republic was the democratic union that governed a galaxy for a thousand years. Ruling the Republic was the Galactic Senate, a governing body comprising elected or appointed representatives from across the galaxy. From within that Senate, a Supreme Chancellor was elected. Justice and peace in the Republic was protected by the noble Jedi Knights.
As the Republic grew more and more powerful, many of the bureaucrats and Senators that ran the government grew increasingly corrupt. The bureaucracy that had grown over centuries choked any attempt at real change. Into this mire stepped the ambitious Senator Palpatine from Naboo. Elected as Supreme Chancellor during a crisis that affected his world, Palpatine promised to bring order and compassion back to the Republic.