Pints of History has a started a series about Star Wars and real world history, beginning with a short piece about Rome’s transition from republic to empire:
The story parallels ancient Roman history. The first emperor, Augustus, led the Roman Republic as its most powerful magistrate, starting in 27 BCE — with an ever-repeating term of office, thanks to victory in a civil war. Like Palpatine, he centralized power in his own hands at the expense of the Senate, but he didn’t disband the Senate. In fact, he carefully preserved the forms of republican government.