8 Star Wars Prequel Moments George Lucas Planned Way Back In 1977
7. The Emperor Overthrew The Republic Using Trade Laws
"One of the Chancellors began subverting the Senate and buying off the Senators with the help of some large intergalactic trade companies." - Leia Organa.
It's strange to think that the mighty Galactic Empire that had an impact on even outlying systems like Tatooine (where the Republic didn't exist) even though it was only around for twenty-five years. Obviously for Ben to remember what it was like before the dark times it couldn't be centuries old, but with the prequels explicitly showing how recent the Empire's beginnings were, it feels even more indestructible than originally presented.
The original notes reveal nothing of this quick timeline and suggesting the Republic had been gone for decades. Yet this was ultimately cut short by the prequels to allow Luke and Leia's birth to coincide with the Empire's.
But just because the dates were vague doesn't mean the events were undefined - we can learn the Old Republic was a democratic system, ruled over by a Chancellor who was replaced every four years once their term was over. The future Emperor managed to swing it so he could get re-elected with the backing and influence of major galactic corporations, messing with the trade laws.
The rise we're told of (with slight bias from Leia) is essentially the entire plot of the prequels, minus the whole Sith influence. That old trade laws that made The Phantom Menace's opening crawl so plodding has its genesis here, as does Attack of the Clone's orchestrated conflict intended to increase the Chancellor's powers.