Articles of Colonization
It was in this background of military paranoia that Caprica firmly took the reins of leadership. Not only was she the richest and most populous, she also fielded the largest defense force, and her diplomatic capital with each of the Twelve Colonies was strong. All of this gave her unparalleled leeway to act and intervene amongst the Colonies. Interestingly, despite being clearly dominant amongst the Colonies, the Capricans have never attempted to establish hegemony. If anything, Caprica held herself aloof from the foibles and disputes of the other Colonies, acting only when her interests were threatened. She became the natural neutral meeting ground between the Colonies, her diplomatic service legendary for being able to forge consensus amongst disputing parties even in the most difficult of situations.
Looking first to secure her interests, Caprica established multiple Treaties of Non-Aggression, and also Treaties of Amity providing for reciprocal protection of trade routes. By the end of 37 BU, Caprica was unique amongst the Colonies in being at permanent peace without unreasonable defense risks and/or burdens. Caprican dominance was all the more secure. In 30 BU, the Capricans called the First Colonial Convention to which every Colonial Leader of Government was invited to attend. It was at this Convention that the idea of federalization was first tabled by the Capricans; the Twelve Colonies were to be united under a single Government to ensure the peace and prosperity of the people. The idea fell on deaf ears.
However, once the idea was made public, it began to fester amongst the people. While the Colonies had been politically independent entities for the last five hundred years or more, their identities had largely remained singular. The average person on every Colonial world identified first as a Colonial – they shared a common language, religion, origin, and even political structures. The history of the Colonies had been intertwined right from the onset of the Colonization, and inter- Colony trade had allowed the dissemination of whatever ideas had developed on any single Colony to the other eleven Colonies. The Colonies were more homogenous now that at any other time in previous history since the completion of Colonization.
Caprican determination was also apparently underestimated. Caprican diplomats across the Twelve Colonies pushed for the idea continuously, and support for federalization slowly but surely gained support amongst the Governments. The alternative was to allow the arms race to continue and face the risk of a devastating war. A Second Colonial Convention was called in 10 BU, and the Capricans finally secured the blessings of all Twelve Colonies (even Picon who had threatened to walk out if the Sagitarrian Government-in-Exile was allowed representation) for full inter-Colonial negotiations to begin.
In 6 BU, the Capricans surprised the Colonies by securing a permanent peace treaty between Picon and the exiled Sagitarrian Government, a previously intractable problem. Picon had been persuaded to evacuate Sagittaron in return for Sagitarrian guarantees to destroy pirate bases inside their territory; the peace was enforced by the Caprican Navy. The Peace Pact spurred on the quest for unification; the last remaining barrier had been removed by skilled Caprican diplomacy. Public mood and opinion regarding unification shifted vastly in favor as a consequence of the pact – if Picon and Sagittaron could find peace after 20 years of war, then there was hope yet that further conflict could and would be averted.
Thus, it was in 1 AC that the Articles of Colonization were promulgated and successfully ratified by plebiscite by each of the Twelve Colonies, often by large majorities. For the first time in history, the children of Kobol were unified. The fates of the Twelve Colonies were now forever bound together.
The Articles of Colonization are a bit of a misnomer – they were NOT established or present at the initial Colonization and despite popular and mystical opinion, the Twelve were not involved in it.
The Articles of Colonization is the single most significant document in the history of our civilization, with the possible exception of the Book of the Word. It provided for a system of government that ensured the peace, for the most part, until the beginning of the Great Cylon War more than a century later.
The Articles of Colonization provided for a directly elected President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, and a bicameral legislature consisting of an upper house (the Quorum of Twelve) made up of singular representatives from each of the Twelve Colonies, and the Quorum of Citizens, the lower house, with three representatives from each Colony, also directly elected. The seat of Government was hosted by Caprica, an honor bestowed to the Colony as recognition of its invaluable role in pushing for the Articles of Colonization. Considering its history as a neutral meeting place, Caprica was also the logical place to establish the new Government.
While the Articles of Colonization were hailed as a miracle, they were by no means perfect. The Lower House was effectively neutered by the Articles of Colonization; it could debate Government initiatives and bills, but could not vote on them. On the other hand, the Quorum could vote, but not debate. It was felt that this separation of powers would help prevent the paralysis of government that many detractors of the Articles (and there were quite a few of them despite the popular mood) feared. In the end, debate meant for little, and most recognized that true power to restrain Government excess rested solely in the hands of the Quorum of Twelve. The Lower House became meaningless over time and was formally abolished with an amendment to the Articles late in the Eighth Decade AC, while the Quorum was now legally empowered to debate and vote on legislation (which it had been doing for over fifty years anyways).
The Articles of Colonization also provided for the establishment of the Colonial Navy, uniting the twelve Colonial Navies into a single body to be headquartered on Picon (a concession that Picon demanded be written into the Articles). The various Colonial armies and ground forces were similarly unified as the Colonial Marines and headquartered on Aerelon (also written into the Articles).