Politique was a person who ruled without letting his or her personal feelings get in the way of what was better for their country. It was also a term used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to describe moderates of both religious faiths (Huguenots and Catholics) who held that only a strong monarchy could save France from total collapse, and the term frequently included a pejorative connotation of moral or religious indifference. The term gained great currency after 1568 with the appearance of radical Catholic Leagues calling for the eradication of Protestantism in France, and by 1588 the "politiques" were seen by detractors as an organized group and treated as worse than heretics. In early critical writings, the "politiques" (largely jurists and intellectuals) were sometimes confused with another group, the "malcontents" (nobles who opposed the political influence of the Guise family). This was mainly because the first record of "politiques" were those Catholics and Huguenots that opposed the founding of a Guise dynasty in France. They rallied against the Guise because King Philip II of Spain openly supported the Duke of Guise. Because the King of Spain was an enemy of France, many felt uncomfortable with a king hand-picked by the Spanish. Instead, they rallied for peace and unity in France. Many moderate "politique" Catholics defended the idea of Gallicanism, of making a distinction between the State and Religion, of a unitary and undivided royal sovereignty (against exterior influence or internal divisions), and of privileging national security and peace.
It can be argued that "politiques" truly were anyone who believed in the necessity of a strong monarchy to national security. For example, the politique policies of Henry IV of France, such as the Edict of Nantes (a document granting unprecedented political and religious liberties to the minority French Protestants), directly contributed to the centralized administrative system of 17th century France and the absolutism embodied by Louis XIV of France, which included an eventual revocation of the Edict. Politique - Ruler or person in a position of power who puts the success and well-being of his or her state above all else.