PHILADELPHIA — The political glass ceiling shattered Tuesday as Democrats nominated Hillary Clinton to be their presidential nominee, surmounting still-simmering divisions to make her the first woman to head a major party’s White House ticket.
Capping off the night, the convention showed a video of photos of all 44 presidents — all men — then Mrs. Clinton appeared on the screen, to the sounds of shattering glass.
“We just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet,” she said.
A black civil rights pioneer, the first Democratic woman in the U.S. Senate and an immigrant raised by a lesbian couple gave speeches entering her name into nomination, saying Mrs. Clinton is the trailblazer the country needs and that her candidacy represents a new era in American democracy.
“On behalf of all the women who’ve broken down barriers for others, and with an eye toward the barriers still ahead, I proudly place Hillary Clinton’s name in nomination to be the next president of the United States of America,” said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, who was the first female Democrat to serve in the upper chamber.
Seeking to sway his own backers, who remain uneasy about Mrs. Clinton, Sen. Bernard Sanders capped the roll call vote by asking that it be suspended and Mrs. Clinton be acclaimed by voice vote. The crowd at the Wells Fargo Center erupted in cheers, hoping his gesture would dampen some of the anger that many Sanders supporters feel toward the Democratic Party.
But minutes later, just across the street in the tents set up for the press, Sanders supporters staged a sit-in, occupying the tents and preventing reporters from entering or leaving. The group of several hundred protesters said they refused to accept Mrs. Clinton and vowed to continue the revolution Mr. Sanders started — even if he is no longer leading them.
The protest fizzled after police threatened to start making arrests.
Later in the night, former President Bill Clinton tried to soften some of his wife’s rough edges and testify to her life of public service, describing her time spent nabbing segregated schools in the South, and their emotional ups and downs as a couple.
“She’s the best darn change-maker I ever met in my entire life,” he said. “She’s been around a long time, she sure has, and she’s sure been worth every single year she’s put into making people’s lives better.”
Also on the stage were some of Mrs. Clinton’s close allies in Washington — her former Senate colleagues and those she and her husband gave jobs to during the 1990s — spoke on her behalf, telling voters that they fought together for a liberal agenda.
“I’m from Brooklyn. It’s in our blood to sniff out empty bravado. There’s a lot of that in politics, but there’s not an ounce of it in Hillary Clinton. When she tells you something, take it to the bank,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who served eight years with her as a senator from New York.
Puncturing that promise, however, was Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who told Politico that Mrs. Clinton will flip her position and move to re-embrace the Pacific Rim trade deal she backed while State Department secretary, then opposed during the Democratic primary.
“Once the election’s over and we sit down on trade, people understand a couple things we want to fix on it, but going forward we got to build a global economy,” Mr. McAuliffe told Politico.
By the time the evening was out though, both longtime Clinton adviser John Podesta on Twitter and a McAuliffe spokesperson via Politico had said Mr. McAuliffe had no special knowledge of a planned flip-flop and was giving only his opinion of what Mrs. Clinton should do.
The convention heard from Hollywood celebrities and paid homage to the party’s pro-choice and black roots, with speeches from Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and a litany of black leaders.
The most stirring moment came when a group dubbed themselves the “Mothers of the Movement,” who each lost a child in high-profile confrontations, took to the stage to plead for understanding.
“This isn’t about being politically correct; this is about saving our children,” said Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, killed by a neighborhood watch patroller in 2012. “That’s why we’re here, tonight, with Hillary Clinton. And that’s why, in memory of our children, we are imploring you, all of you, to vote this Election Day.”
For a second night in a row, the convention ducked the subject of terrorism. Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright even dropped references to the Islamic State — or ISIS — that appeared in her prepared remarks, but which she didn’t deliver from the stage.
In her prepared speech, she said Mrs. Clinton would work “to defeat ISIS,” using one of the acronyms of the terrorist group. But in her actual speech, she cut the line entirely, as well as another line in which she accused Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump of hurting the “fight against ISIS.” Instead of saying “ISIS,” she substituted the word “terrorism” in that case.
Mr. Trump’s campaign, in a statement, mocked the Democratic convention for ignoring the terrorist threat.
“Many have argued that Donald Trump would harm our national security if he were elected president. The fact is, he has already done damage just by running for president,” Ms. Albright said in remarks prepared for delivery. “He has undermined our fight against ISIS by alienating our Muslim partners.”
Mr. Trump’s campaign, in a statement, mocked the Democratic convention for ignoring the terrorist threat entirely on its first day Monday.
“Maybe they didn’t mention ISIS because Hillary Clinton’s foreign invasions gave ISIS a launching pad — something we can be sure her base is none too thrilled about. Or maybe they didn’t mention ISIS because Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want a monumental increase in Syrian refugees,” said Trump spokesman Jason Miller.
Mrs. Clinton will speak Thursday night to accept the nomination. President Obama speaks Wednesday.
The final tally was 2,842 delegate votes for Mrs. Clinton and 1,865 for Mr. Sanders. But much of that gap was a result of the “superdelegates” — the party bigwigs who get votes that are not tied to the way the primaries went.
For example, Mr. Sanders won New Hampshire 60 percent to 38 percent, earning 15 delegates to Mrs. Clinton’s 9. But when superdelegate votes were added, they ended up splitting the state 16-16. Mr. Sanders also won Rhode Island, 54-46, but ended up with six fewer delegates because of the Democratic Party’s “superdelegate” rules.
Still, as Mrs. Clinton’s vote tally piled up, the roll call vote had all the weight of a major moment in history.
Jerry Emmett, a 102-year-old honorary delegate from Arizona who was born before women even had the right to vote under the U.S. Constitution, announced her state’s vote tally for Mrs. Clinton.
Michigan delegates held up a sign saying, “What’s that noise? Glass ceiling shattering.”
There was plenty of emotion on the other side of the tally, too — including when Mr. Sanders’ brother, Larry Sanders, stood up in the delegation of Democrats who live overseas and said how proud his parents would have been of their son.
“With enormous pride, I cast my vote for Bernie Sanders,” he said.
History is becoming a habit with Democrats. Eight years ago, they made Barack Obama the first major-party black nominee. He would go on to a historic victory that November, then win re-election in 2012.