This thesis seeks to broaden our understanding of religio-political alliances in Tibet beyond the more sectarian view that arises by generalizing from historical developments in Central Tibet. Specifically, I discuss the sociopolitical situation in during the 19th century in the eastern Tibetan kingdom of Sde-dge (Derge, Kham). This case study provides an example of religio-political alliance at the local level which cannot be grasped by a model that highlights a single sectarian affiliation. On the contrary, one strategy for securing rule in Sde-dge was precisely for the king NOT to maintain an exclusive relationship with one tradition, but to form close ties with monasteries of different traditions. The thesis also examines the Rgyal po'i lugs kyi bstan bcos [Treatise on how a king should rule], written by 'Ju Mi pham rgya mtsho (Mipham) for the king of Sde-dge in 1895.