- "Under the Empire's New Order, our most cherished beliefs will be safeguarded. We will defend our ideals by force of arms. We will give no ground to our enemies and will stand together against attacks from within or without. Let the enemies of the Empire take heed: Those who challenge Imperial resolve will be crushed."
- ―Palpatine in his Declaration of a New Order
The New Order, also called the New Imperial Order and the New Era of Power, was the name primarily given to the policies adopted by the Galactic Empire and its successor governments (Imperial Remnant and reestablished Galactic Empire); and the ideology of the COMPNOR.
The term New Order is was likely based on the use of the term "Old Order" to represent the Galactic Republic. The term was also been used earlier by members of the Separatist Council to describe the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
Whether the use of "New Order" by both the Confederacy and the Galactic Empire was due to them both being led by Palpatine, or just coincidence, is unknown.
The New Order has its origin in the Declaration of a New Order by which Palpatine established the Empire in 19 BBY. Many people of the new Empire enthusiastically supported the vision outlined in the Declaration of a New Order, largely due to the violence that had plagued the galaxy for so long. Many Senators wholeheartedly supported the new government while a number of more cautious Senators chose to watch and wait to see how the new government would handle the affairs of state. It promised to trade frailty for strength, chaos for order, and uncertainty for decisiveness.
The New Order began to lose support after the increasingly authoritarian nature of the Empire. It endured, with and without Palpatine, in one form or another, for at least one hundred and sixty years. That it lasted this long is no credit to Palpatine, for in the end it had never truly been intended to operate without him; it fell to others—to Gilad Pellaeon and, later, to the Fels—to try to find a new relevance for it, to give it a new lease on life as a "New Order with a Personal Face."
The New Order arose as a result of the failures of the Galactic Republic, which was decentralized and often found ineffectual in resolving disputes between its more powerful members. The Empire was championed as a strong unifying solution to this problem. It criticized the perceived decadence and weakness of the Republic, and advocated an authoritarian and militaristic social and political culture.
The New Order's ideology was pervasively chauvinist, possibly due to its military origins. The armed forces were almost entirely male -- first because their earliest members were so and later because of deliberate exclusion. Likewise were most of the Emperor's advisors. However, there were notable exceptions such as Admiral Daala. Though later, during the days of the Imperial Remnant, women were just as important as they were in the New Republic. Chauvinism would later rear its ugly head, especially when the Council of Moffs saw that Marasiah Fel was to become the next ruler of the New Galactic Empire.
The culture of New Order proponents was aesthetic and minimalist. These aesthetics were encouraged throughout the galaxy by the Coalition for Progress, an arm of COMPNOR. During its short existence, the Empire was not particularly brutal in the suppression of artistic culture, as it was primarily interested in military and political dominance. However, pressures from the New Order left their mark on the art of the Imperial period.
Despite this, there existed a sharp dichotomy in Imperial culture. On one hand, there was certainly a change from the artistic vibrancy of the Galactic Republic. On the other, the privileged élites of the Core Worlds that formed the ruling class of the Empire often attended soirées, fêtes, and balls. These fortunate few enjoyed a charmed existence under the Empire where Human-produced operas and artwork presented a sort of intellectual renaissance, at the expense of non-Human or politically "subversive" art.
It was felt that only the upper crust of galactic society was suited for the rigors of command, so a disproportionate amount of the Imperial command staff came from richer backgrounds. This led to a sharp contrast between the highly cultured top brass and the comparatively brainwashed rank-and-file.
The New Order was intrinsically tied to a Human-supremacist vision of society. Aliens were rarely accepted into formal Imperial organizations. They were also often the target of exclusionary policies, perhaps as a result of the stigma surrounding the alien-based Confederacy of Independent Systems.
Officially, New Order proponents justified the subordinate status of non-Humans by suggesting that Human supremacy was needed in order to protect and govern them. This marginalization explained why non-Humans did not hold positions of power: they were not technically barred but ostensibly were simply unfit for such positions. Theoretically, Imperial law made no distinction between Imperial citizens (Human or others) but the practice of Human High Culture belied such legal niceties.
In some cases, sentient aliens had been virtually exterminated by the Empire (infamously, the Empire occasionally used an ecological act permitting the eradication of dangerous species to justify military operations against sentient species). This allowed aliens to be enslaved and put to work in mines and on the Death Star. Chewbacca worked under the Empire until Han Solo freed him from oppression. Another change was Humans were the only ones allowed in the military (notable exceptions included Grand Admiral Thrawn). Many planets were represented by Humans in the Imperial Senate prior to its deconstruction. Many species, including the Mon Calamari and the Bothans, joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic in response to their loss of rights and treatment. After the fall of the Galactic Empire the Remnant abandoned speciesism altogether, thus potentially drafting the Rights of Sentience into the Imperial Charter.
Following the Clone Wars, the Empire started a process of stabilization and expansion of the economy. While the Imperial Period saw dramatic increases in state control and centralization of economic procedures, it had little effect on the galactic economy, as witnessed in the virtual non-existence of inflation.
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