Politiques are rulers who tended to make religious matters inferior and less of a priority than political matters. These rulers paid less attention to theological doctrine, and focued their attention on political unity of their state. Politiques urged tolerance and compromise in religious issues, and this type of ruling kept religious conflict and civil war to a minimum. Elizabeth I, Henry of Navarre, and William of Orange were all examples of politiques, and lived up to this term by putting political unity ahead of any religious matters to achieve their political goals.
Elizabeth I, who ruled England from 1558 to 1603, was a politique. She took her throne after Mary I, a queen who refused to compromise with or tolerate any religion but Catholicism and left the state in ruins. Elizabeth, on the other hand, focused much of her power on keeping her state strong and united. One way she sought to strengthen the power of England was by demonstrating her nations power on the high seas with the help of seaman Sir Francis Drake, who regulary attacked Spanish shipments to the Americas, and sailed around the world between 1577 and 1580. Elizabeth’s armies also kept England strong by defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588, when the Spanish Armada attacked England with 25,000 sailors. Elizabeth I was most definitely a politique, she put religious matters aside as a queen and focused her power on political unity and strength of her state.
Henry of Navarre, French king from 1574 to 1589, was another politique he placed his religious opinions aside and focused on his state’s success. Henry of Navarre converted his religion several times to please different groups and gain power as a ruler, and this in itself evidences a politique way of ruling. However, Henry also demonstrated his religious toleration when, in 1598, he issued the Edict of Nantes, which proclaimed that all Huguenots could have religious freedom. Henry, of Navarre quite obviously a politique, his toleration.