Gordon Brown has told the Labour faithful the party can create a Britain that leads the world by being both prosperous and socially just.
The PM applauds his chancellor
They must move beyond winning votes to winning hearts and minds, to create a "progressive consensus" around "liberty, duty and fairness", he said.
His Brighton speech turned the focus back on the economy, away from Iraq.
Mr Brown told delegates they must have confidence in Labour's values, saying: "We have much more to do."
Mr Brown's speech came as Alan Milburn, the man Tony Blair drafted in to the Cabinet to plan election strategy - a role normally filled by the Chancellor - set out his vision for winning a third term.
Speaking at a fringe meeting, Mr Milburn said Labour had to be positive about the future, rather than simply "screaming louder and louder" about its track record.
Mr Milburn said Labour was right to highlight its economic record, which the Chancellor said in his speech must be at the heart of Labour's election campaign.
But the former health secretary went on to say this approach should be combined with telling voters what Labour would deliver in the future.
His words were seized on by the opposition as evidence of a spat over the contents of Labour's general election manifesto.
Conservative co-chairman Dr Liam Fox said: "Hearing Alan Milburn and Gordon Brown scrapping over how to run the election campaign sets an undignified opening scene to the Labour Party conference.
"It is a tragedy that the affairs of state now play second fiddle to the grubby internal feuding of New Labour."
Earlier Mr Brown said talk of splits with Mr Blair was "tittle tattle" and made a point of paying tribute to Mr Blair early on in his speech.
The BBC's political editor Andrew Marr said there were "no petty or snide" digs at Mr Blair, describing the speech as probably the best Mr Brown had made since Labour came to power.
In a speech setting out Mr Brown's political "vision" rather than spelling out new policies, the chancellor pledged to introduce a minimum wage from the age of 16 and to expand the use of education maintenance grants.
These would help "us to build a shared national purpose, a British progressive consensus, much more than a set of individual policies announced by politicians but a set of beliefs that come to be shared by the British people".
This would show Britain could be "the first country of the global age where prosperity and justice advance together".
Brown: Have confidence in values
He said Labour had gone from "being the party not trusted on the economy to the only party trusted on the economy".
And he outlined a "patriotic vision" for a Britain which mixed America's economic success and Europe's social justice.
The BBC's Andrew Marr pointed out that Mr Brown's conference speech mentioned Britain 42 or 43 times - saying this appeared to be an attempt to reclaim patriotism.
Mr Brown said there were challenges likely from the global economy, pointing out that China was exporting more than France, Italy and Britain together and that its wages were 5% of those in Britain.
"We will not compete by lowering wages and lowering standards. We will compete by raising skills," he said.
Tory shadow chancellor Oliver Letwin said Mr Brown's speech contained "fine talk" but offered no action for cash-strapped pensioners or first-time house buyers.
"There was no action for millions of taxpayers who are paying the equivalent of 16.5 pence more in income tax in the form of 66 stealth tax increases and who are not getting value for money," he said.
Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said Mr Brown had a good record on "macro-economic stability" but had failed to reduce inequality.
"Despite the myriad of anti-poverty policies, the latest government figures show that one in five pensioners still live in poverty."
Mr Cable added that 6.7 million people of working age lived below the poverty line and that the poorest 20% paid more income tax than the richest 20%.
Economic issues feature in four of the emergency motions selected by delegates for debate this week - covering pensions, public services, workers' rights and manufacturing.
Until Mr Brown's speech the focus had been on Iraq after delegates forced a vote on British troops' presence in Iraq.