Promising Americans a steady hand, Hillary Clinton cast herself Thursday night as a unifier for divided times, steeled for the challenges of a volatile world by decades in politics that have left some Americans skeptical that she understands their lives.

"I know that at a time when so much seems to be pulling us apart, it can be hard to imagine how we'll ever pull together again," Clinton said as she accepted the Democratic nomination, becoming the first woman to lead a major U.S. political party. "But I'm here to tell you tonight — progress is possible."

For some delegates, Hillary Clinton's acceptance speech was like watching a dream come true. "I have never believed in a candidate like I have in her," said Clinton delegate Maddie Snyder, a kindergarten teacher from Greene County, south of Pittsburgh. 

Clinton took the stage to roaring applause from flag-waving delegates. But her real audience was the millions of voters who may welcome her experience but question her character.

Clinton acknowledged those concerns briefly, saying "I get it that some people just don't know what to make of me." But her primary focus was portraying herself as the only qualified candidate in a general election contest against Republican Donald Trump.

"Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis," she said. "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."