The Democratic Party nominated Hillary Clinton as its candidate for president Tuesday, a historic event that set the stage for a brutal three-month race for the White House against populist billionaire Republican Donald Trump.

Clinton tweeted one word after clinching the nomination: "History."

Clinton, when she formally accepts on Thursday, will become the first woman to claim the presidential nomination of a major political party. She did so by surviving a grueling, 15-month struggle against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose devoted army of followers equaled Clinton backers in their raucous roars Tuesday in the energized Wells Fargo Center.

Vermont was moved to last in the alphabetical roll call of states, and Sanders moved that the convention suspend its rules and nominate Clinton by acclamation as "the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States." That drew a deafening roar from the crowd as the song Happy blared throughout the arena.

Sanders has drawn intense support at the convention, but this night belongs to Clinton, a 68-year-old Chicago native whose resumé includes stints as first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski placed Clinton's name into nomination, drawing a deafening ovation.

"She will fight for your day-to-day needs, and the long-run needs of our country," Mikulski said. "You will have national security and economic security."

Clinton won more than 2,800 delegates over the course of the campaign, well above the 2,383 required to win nomination and making the roll call a formality. Sanders claimed 1,894 delegates.

It was an emotional night for delegates. Jerry Emmett, a 102-year-old retired educator, helped report Arizona's delegate votes for Hillary Clinton during the roll call.

"Fifty-one votes for the next president of the United States of America, Hillary Rodham Clinton," an Emmett said to cheers.

“I cried! I never cry,” she told USA TODAY afterwards.

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine joins the ticket as Clinton's vice presidential nominee.

The roll call behind them, the Clinton camp looked to former president Bill Clinton, former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a host of other speakers to energize the crowd and begin to forge a bond strong enough to unite the party.

Robby Mook, Clinton's campaign manager, told USA TODAY the goal of Tuesday's session was to focus on her record.

"Her core motivations were to break down barriers to opportunities, to help kids and families in this country to get ahead," Mook said.

President Obama and Vice President Biden headline Wednesday's session, with Hillary Clinton scheduled to formally accept the nomination Thursday.

Sanders has repeatedly stressed that his movement will continue. On Tuesday morning, he made the rounds at delegation breakfasts. He drew cheers from Floridians as he encouraged delegates to help elect Clinton, defeat Trump and to stay focused on the most important issues.

“It is not just about electing candidates,” he said. “It is about transforming the country. Now, the media doesn’t like talking about the real issues. But that’s what the American people want to hear."

Later Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard placed Sanders name in nomination at the convention to wild applause, calling his campaign a "movement of love."

The convention debuted Monday to a bumpy start when party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced expedite her resignation due to an email scandal indicating possible party efforts to undercut Sanders' candidacy. Chants of "Bernie!" erupted during the opening prayer and continued through the night, an indication that his delegates and supporters are having a tough time dealing with defeat.

Even the party's rock stars were grappling with a disconsolate crowd. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a heroine of the left who Sanders once suggested would make a strong vice presidential candidate, was heckled by a small but vocal group of disgruntled convention-goers shouting, "We trusted you!"

Republican nominee Donald Trump seized on the awkward moments Warren faced, tweeting Tuesday: "Pocahontas bombed last night! Sad to watch." The nickname is a reference to Warren's claim of being part Native-American.

Warren's Twitter reply: "You didn't like a speech explaining why you'll never - NEVER - be President, @realDonaldTrump? I'm shocked!!! #hatersgonnahate."

The effort to unite the warring factions of the party was left to Sanders, the night's final speaker, and he did not disappoint.

"I understand that many people here in this convention hall and around the country are disappointed about the final results of the nominating process," he told an adoring crowd.

He said the country needs leadership to improve the lives of working families, the poor and the sick. He said Trump would support allowing states to lower the U.S. minimum wage, now $7.25 per hour, while also backing tax breaks for the rich.

“By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that – based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” he told the crowd to overwhelming applause, with only a smattering of dispute.

Trump was not on board, tweeting: "Bernie Sanders totally sold out to Crooked Hillary Clinton. All of that work, energy and money, and nothing to show for it! Waste of time."

One speaker who drew no protests was first lady Michelle Obama, who provided a passionate appeal on behalf of a the former first lady "who has the guts and the grace to keep coming back and putting those cuts and those cracks in that highest glass ceiling.”

“Because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all of our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States," she said.

Contributing: Nicole Gaudiano, Bartholomew Sullivan, Michael Squires