After the seemingly final defeat of the Sith, the
Republic enters a state of complacency. In the waning years of the
Republic, the senate was rife with corruption and scandal, and
saddled with a bureaucracy so immense that effective governing was
nearly impossible. The ambitious Senator Palpatine caused himself to
be elected Supreme Chancellor, and promised to reunite the galaxy
under a New Order.
It is during this time that the events of Episodes I (The
Phantom Menace) and II (Attack
of the Clones), the Clone
Wars and Episode III (Revenge
of the Sith) occur.