It has been more than thirty-five years since Jack Wills and Jonathan Spence published their classic edited volume From Ming to Ch’ing: Conquest, Region, and Continuity in Seventeenth-Century China. 1 That volume grew out of a conference held five years before that brought together a variety of scholars at all levels of their careers, all of whom turned out to be leading lights in the field of what has subsequently morphed into late imperial Chinese history. In addition to the quality of the essays and breadth of knowledge displayed therein, it was typical of Jack’s enthusiastic and unselfish support of younger scholars in the field, a support that continued throughout his distinguished career and is reflected in the contributions in the present volume. In the preface to that volume the editors noted how the state of knowledge about this critical period in Chinese history was still in its relative infancy in the West and how scholars were just starting to understand its broader ramifications for the study of world history. 2 They were, of course correct and much has changed since the publication of that book in terms of our knowledge about the Ming-Qing transition and its broader historical significance. Part of that is due to the fact that most Western scholars now have ready access to resources and archives in the People’s Republic of China in addition to the huge volume of Ming and Qing primary sources that have been collected and reprinted in the ensuing decades. That has facilitated the publication of a great number of important scholarly monographs, many written by the same young scholars included in the aforementioned volume. But it must also be said that the work of Jack Wills set the standard and blazed a trail for the next generation in terms of creative approaches to the study of China’s past and in integrating the history of China within the broader processes of world history and vice versa. The present essay is merely one way in which my own work has been informed and inspired by Professor Wills’ example.