US Democrats have launched their national convention in Denver, with ringing endorsements of the party's White House hopeful Barack Obama.
In a keynote speech, Mr Obama's wife, Michelle, praised his values, saying her husband would make "an extraordinary president".
Senator Edward Kennedy, undergoing treatment for brain cancer, said the "dream lives on" through Mr Obama.
Senator Obama will formally accept the party's nomination on Thursday night.
He is to address a crowd of an expected 80,000 people at a sports stadium, arriving from a tour of electoral battlegrounds.
The first African-American to be nominated as a US presidential candidate, he will stand against Republican John McCain in the 4 November ballot.
Senator McCain will be nominated next week at the Republican Party's convention in Minneapolis-St Paul, Minnesota.
Some of the latest opinion polls suggest the two men are in a statistical dead heat.
The Democrats hope their national convention in Colorado will show the Illinois senator as a family man and heal the rifts of the primary race.
Senator Edward Kennedy addresses the delegates
In an assured speech, Mrs Obama talked of being raised with the same values as her husband: "That you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect."
She went on: "We want our children and all children in this nation, to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."
The couple's two young daughters, Sasha and Malia, then joined their mother on stage as Mr Obama spoke by satellite video link-up from Missouri.
I thought Michelle Obama's speech was effective but not a knock-out; it doesn't settle the matters of perceived lack of patriotism and oddness and effeteness (if that is a word)
The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Denver says Mrs Obama knew that she had to claw her way back into the affections of the US public after a nasty slip earlier this year, when a comment about being proud about her country for the first time drew stinging criticism.
Her speech was effortless political theatre, our correspondent says, but also brilliant content, aimed at precisely the kind of Americans worried about her patriotism.
Earlier, Mr Kennedy, the 76-year-old scion of the iconic Democratic family, appeared on stage to loud cheers.
"I have come here to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and elect Barack Obama president of the United States," he said
"There is a new wave of change all around us," he said, "and if we set our compass true, we will reach our destination - not merely victory for our party, but renewal for our nation. And this November, the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans."
Monday: Michelle Obama speech on Obama the man; tribute to Ted Kennedy
Tuesday: Hillary Clinton speech; keynote speech by former Virginia governor Mark Warner
Wednesday: Speeches by Bill Clinton and Joe Biden; vote to confirm Barack Obama as party's candidate
Barack Obama to accept nomination with speech in stadium
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