WASHINGTON - Making history as the first female major US party nominee for president, Hillary Clinton said Thursday that America faces "a moment of reckoning", and aggressively cast Republican nominee Donald Trump as a divisive figure stoking fear across the country.

“He wants to divide us from the rest of the world, and from each other,” Clinton said in her acceptance speech to a widely cheering crowd at the Democratic convention, adding that "bonds of trust and respect are fraying" and Americans "have to decide whether we will all work together so we can all rise together."

“He’s betting that the perils of today’s world will blind us to its unlimited promise.”

Clinton said Trump has “taken the Republican Party a long way - from ‘Morning in America’ to ‘Midnight in America,’” nodding to a famous Ronald Reagan ad campaign. “He wants us to fear the future and fear each other,” she said.

"Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart," Clinton said, adding that "bonds of trust and respect are fraying" and Americans "have to decide whether we will all work together so we can all rise together."

Clinton criticized Trump throughout her nearly hour-long speech and defined her policy agenda largely against that of her Republican opponent as she assailed his "bigotry and bombast."

While pledging to enact a "path to citizenship" for migrants who are in the country illegally, Clinton attacked Trump's proposed wall along the US-Mexico border. She promised to work with allies to combat terrorism and said Trump's criticism of existing military alliances would undermine global cooperation.

Clinton also said Trump lacks the temperament for the presidency, adding that "a man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons." In fact, Clinton made several digs at Trump during her speech. She noted that his own convention speech lasted "70-odd minutes - and I do mean odd."Clinton also mocked Trump for saying in his convention speech last week that he "alone" can fix the nation's problem.

"Americans don't say 'I alone can fix it,'" she said. "We say, 'we'll fix it together.'" Arguing that her "primary mission" as president will be "more good jobs with rising wages right here in the United States," Clinton also said the nation faces a stark choice between her and Trump over national security.

Citing recent terrorist attacks in the US and abroad by "determined enemies that must be defeated," Clinton said, "so it's no wonder that people are anxious and looking for reassurance - looking for steady leadership."

Paying off a slogan of Republican President Ronald Reagan, Clinton criticized Trump's negative tone by saying he has turned "morning in America" into "midnight in America." Clinton said the nation instead should be "clear-eyed" about its problems, and "we will rise to the challenge just as we always have."

Trump did not stay idle as Clinton accepted her nomination Thursday. The Republican nominee campaigned in Iowa, where he again attacked "Crooked Hillary" as an unfit candidate who offers only a third term of the Obama administration.

In a written statement, the Republican candidate said Clinton and the Democrats live in a "fantasy world" that ignores the threat of Islamic State terrorism, porous borders with Mexico and millions of Americans who have stopped looking for work as bad trade deals send jobs overseas.

"I propose a different vision for America, one where we can break up Washington’s rigged system and empower all Americans to achieve their dreams," Trump said. "In our vision, we will put America first."

In a flurry of e-mails sent during Clinton's speech, the Trump campaign noted that Clinton once backed free trade deals she now criticizes. The speech was "an insulting collection of clichés and recycled rhetoric," the campaign said in a statement after the speech.

Meanwhile, Clinton spoke of domestic proposals she made during her successful primary campaign, an agenda ranging from increased college assistance to a higher minimum wage to equal pay for women in the workplace.

Eight years after losing her Democratic nomination race to Barack Obama, the former first lady, US senator from New York and secretary of State also sought to reintroduce herself to the American people, with the help of testimonials from other speakers and a biographical film. Joking that "I get it that some people just don't know what to make of me," Clinton recounted experiences that included her health care fights of the 1990s and the 2011 military raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The Democratic nominee invoked ideas she wrote about in the 1996 book It Takes A Village and promoted the theme of her 2016 campaign, "Stronger Together."

Referring to her own historic nomination - and drawing the biggest applause of the night by citing "the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for president" - Clinton said reality shows that "when there are no ceilings, the sky is the limit."

In the hours leading up to Clinton's appearance, the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center included supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, who challenged Clinton in Democratic primaries this year. Many of his allies wore hats and shirts adorned with a single word: "Bernie."

Clinton, accused by Sanders backers of not paying enough attention to the issue of income inequality, promised she will focus on areas of the country that have long "been left out and left behind" by the modern economy.