Read the full transcript of Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech at the 2016 Democratic Convention in Philadelphia
Thank you! Thank you for that amazing welcome.
And Chelsea, thank you. I’m so proud to be your mother and so proud of the woman you’ve become. Thanks for bringing Marc into our family, and Charlotte and Aidan into the world.
And Bill, that conversation we started in the law library 45 years ago is still going strong. It’s lasted through good times that filled us with joy, and hard times that tested us.
And I’ve even gotten a few words in along the way.
On Tuesday night, I was so happy to see that my Explainer-in-Chief is still on the job. I’m also grateful to the rest of my family and the friends of a lifetime. To all of you whose hard work brought us here tonight. And to those of you who joined our campaign this week. And what a remarkable week it’s been.
We heard the man from Hope, Bill Clinton. And the man of Hope, Barack Obama. America is stronger because of President Obama’s leadership, and I’m better because of his friendship.
We heard from our terrific vice president, the one-and-only Joe Biden, who spoke from his big heart about our party’s commitment to working people.
First Lady Michelle Obama reminded us that our children are watching, and the president we elect is going to be their president, too.
And for those of you out there who are just getting to know Tim Kaine – you’re soon going to understand why the people of Virginia keep promoting him: from city council and mayor, to Governor, and now Senator. He’ll make the whole country proud as our Vice President.
And I want to thank Bernie Sanders. Bernie, your campaign inspired millions of Americans, particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary. You’ve put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.
And to all of your supporters here and around the country: I want you to know, I’ve heard you. Your cause is our cause. Our country needs your ideas, energy, and passion. That’s the only way we can turn our progressive platform into real change for America. We wrote it together – now let’s go out there and make it happen together.
My friends, we’ve come to Philadelphia – the birthplace of our nation – because what happened in this city 240 years ago still has something to teach us today.
We all know the story. But we usually focus on how it turned out – and not enough on how close that story came to never being written at all.
When representatives from 13 unruly colonies met just down the road from here, some wanted to stick with the King. Some wanted to stick it to the king, and go their own way. The revolution hung in the balance. Then somehow they began listening to each other … compromising … finding common purpose.
And by the time they left Philadelphia, they had begun to see themselves as one nation.
That’s what made it possible to stand up to a King. That took courage. They had courage. Our Founders embraced the enduring truth that we are stronger together.
America is once again at a moment of reckoning. Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. Bonds of trust and respect are fraying.
And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees. It truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together.
Our country’s motto is e pluribus unum: out of many, we are one. Will we stay true to that motto?
Well, we heard Donald Trump’s answer last week at his convention. He wants to divide us – from the rest of the world, and from each other.
He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise. He’s taken the Republican Party a long way… from “Morning in America” to “Midnight in America.” He wants us to fear the future and fear each other.
Well, a great Democratic President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came up with the perfect rebuke to Trump more than eighty years ago, during a much more perilous time. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Now we are clear-eyed about what our country is up against. But we are not afraid. We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have. We will not build a wall. Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good paying job can get one.
And we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy!
We will not ban a religion. We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight terrorism. There’s a lot of work to do. Too many people haven’t had a pay raise since the crash.
There’s too much inequality. Too little social mobility. Too much paralysis in Washington. Too many threats at home and abroad.
But just look at the strengths we bring to meet these challenges. We have the most dynamic and diverse people in the world. We have the most tolerant and generous young people we’ve ever had. We have the most powerful military. The most innovative entrepreneurs. The most enduring values.
Freedom and equality, justice and opportunity. We should be so proud that these words are associated with us. That when people hear them – they hear… America.
So don’t let anyone tell you that our country is weak. We’re not. Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t have what it takes. We do.
And most of all, don’t believe anyone who says: “I alone can fix it.”
Those were actually Donald Trump’s words in Cleveland. And they should set off alarm bells for all of us.
Really? I alone can fix it? Isn’t he forgetting? Troops on the front lines.
Police officers and fire fighters who run toward danger. Doctors and nurses who care for us. Teachers who change lives.
Entrepreneurs who see possibilities in every problem. Mothers who lost children to violence and are building a movement to keep other kids safe.
He’s forgetting every last one of us. Americans don’t say: “I alone can fix it.” We say: “We’ll fix it together.”
Remember: Our Founders fought a revolution and wrote a Constitution so America would never be a nation where one person had all the power. Two hundred and forty years later, we still put our faith in each other.
Look at what happened in Dallas after the assassinations of five brave police officers. Chief David Brown asked the community to support his force, maybe even join them.
And you know how the community responded? Nearly 500 people applied in just 12 days. That’s how Americans answer when the call for help goes out.
20 years ago I wrote a book called “It Takes a Village.” A lot of people looked at the title and asked, what the heck do you mean by that?
This is what I mean. None of us can raise a family, build a business, heal a community or lift a country totally alone.
America needs every one of us to lend our energy, our talents, our ambition to making our nation better and stronger. I believe that with all my heart.
That’s why “Stronger Together” is not just a lesson from our history. It’s not just a slogan for our campaign.
It’s a guiding principle for the country we’ve always been and the future we’re going to build.
A country where the economy works for everyone, not just those at the top. Where you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school, no matter what zip code you live in.
A country where all our children can dream, and those dreams are within reach. Where families are strong… communities are safe… And yes, love trumps hate.
That’s the country we’re fighting for. That’s the future we’re working toward… And so it is with humility. . . determination . . . and boundless confidence in America’s promise… that I accept your nomination for President of the United States!
Now, sometimes the people at this podium are new to the national stage.
As you know, I’m not one of those people. I’ve been your First Lady. Served 8 years as a Senator from the great State of New York.
I ran for President and lost. Then I represented all of you as Secretary of State.
But my job titles only tell you what I’ve done. They don’t tell you why.
The truth is, through all these years of public service, the “service” part has always come easier to me than the “public” part.
I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me. So let me tell you.
The family I’m from . . . well, no one had their name on big buildings. My family were builders of a different kind. Builders in the way most American families are.
They used whatever tools they had – whatever God gave them – and whatever life in America provided – and built better lives and better futures for their kids.
My grandfather worked in the same Scranton lace mill for 50 years. Because he believed that if he gave everything he had, his children would have a better life than he did. And he was right.
My dad, Hugh, made it to college. He played football at Penn State and enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor.
When the war was over he started his own small business, printing fabric for draperies. I remember watching him stand for hours over silk screens.
He wanted to give my brothers and me opportunities he never had. And he did.
My mother, Dorothy, was abandoned by her parents as a young girl. She ended up on her own at 14, working as a house maid. She was saved by the kindness of others.
Her first grade teacher saw she had nothing to eat at lunch, and brought extra food to share. The lesson she passed on to me years later stuck with me: No one gets through life alone. We have to look out for each other and lift each other up.
She made sure I learned the words of our Methodist faith: “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”
I went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund, going door-to-door in New Bedford, Massachusetts on behalf of children with disabilities who were denied the chance to go to school.
I remember meeting a young girl in a wheelchair on the small back porch of her house. She told me how badly she wanted to go to school – it just didn’t seem possible. And I couldn’t stop thinking of my mother and what she went through as a child.
It became clear to me that simply caring is not enough. To drive real progress, you have to change both hearts and laws. You need both understanding and action.
So we gathered facts. We built a coalition. And our work helped convince Congress to ensure access to education for all students with disabilities.
It’s a big idea, isn’t it? Every kid with a disability has the right to go to school. But how do you make an idea like that real? You do it step-by-step, year-by-year… sometimes even door-by-door. And my heart just swelled when I saw Anastasia Somoza on this stage, representing millions of young people who – because of those changes to our laws – are able to get an education. It’s true… I sweat the details of policy – whether we’re talking about the exact level of lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the number of mental health facilities in Iowa, or the cost of your prescription drugs.
Because it’s not just a detail if it’s your kid – if it’s your family. It’s a big deal. And it should be a big deal to your president. Over the last three days, you’ve seen some of the people who’ve inspired me. People who let me into their lives, and became a part of mine. People like Ryan Moore and Lauren Manning. They told their stories Tuesday night. I first met Ryan as a seven-year old. He was wearing a full body brace that must have weighed forty pounds. Children like Ryan kept me going when our plan for universal health care failed…and kept me working with leaders of both parties to help create the Children’s Health Insurance Program that covers 8 million kids every year.
Lauren was gravely injured on 9/11. It was the thought of her, and Debbie St. John, and John Dolan and Joe Sweeney, and all the victims and survivors, that kept me working as hard as I could in the Senate on behalf of 9/11 families, and our first responders who got sick from their time at Ground Zero. I was still thinking of Lauren, Debbie and all the others ten years later in the White House Situation Room when President Obama made the courageous decision that finally brought Osama bin Laden to justice. In this campaign, I’ve met so many people who motivate me to keep fighting for change. And, with your help, I will carry all of your voices and stories with me to the White House. I will be a President for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving and the successful. For those who vote for me and those who don’t. For all Americans.
Tonight, we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union: the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for President. Standing here as my mother’s daughter, and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come.
Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. Happy for boys and men, too – because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone. When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.
So let’s keep going, until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves. Because even more important than the history we make tonight, is the history we will write together in the years ahead. Let’s begin with what we’re going to do to help working people in our country get ahead and stay ahead.
Now, I don’t think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs. Twenty million more Americans with health insurance. And an auto industry that just had its best year ever. That’s real progress.ut none of us can be satisfied with the status quo. Not by a long shot. We’re still facing deep-seated problems that developed