The Democratic Party made history Tuesday by nominating Hillary Clinton, a former first lady and secretary of state, to run for US president as the first woman to head a major party's presidential ticket.

The delegates from the state of South Dakota gave Clinton the 2,383 tally needed to clinch the nomination and ignited a boisterous celebration among thousands of delegates gathered at the party convention in Philadelphia. The victory seals her status as the party standardbearer in the November 8 election.

The roll call vote sets up a dual between Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, who accepted his party's nomination last week. It also brought a bitter end to a persistent challenge mounted by US Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton's rival in the Democratic primaries.

Disgruntled Sanders supporters expressed their displeasure with the outcome by holding a silent protest inside one of two media centre tents outside the convention arena. They sat on the floor holding Bernie signs, some with tape over their mouths to symbolize their belief that they had been silenced.

Many mentioned the email controversy that rocked the convention on Sunday and forced the resignation of the party chairwoman. The emails, published on WikiLeaks, had been obtained by hackers from the Democratic National Committee's computers. Their content angered many Sanders supporters because they revealed a bias against Sanders among some party leaders.

The convention kicked off its second day with a rowdy roll call vote that gave each state's lead delegate a chance at the microphone.

The final state to announce its votes was Sanders' home state of Vermont. The US senator made a symbolic gesture by moving to give Clinton the party's presidential nomination by acclamation. Chants of "Bernie! Bernie!" erupted through the crowd, but huge numbers of delegates also waved signs emblazened with Clinton's H logo incorporating an arrow.

Sanders spoke to the delegates Monday saying no one was more disappointed than he that he would not be the nominee.

Supporters of Sanders, who won 23 contests during the state-by-state primaries and caucuses, had previously vowed to make their voices heard on the convention floor.

Sanders called for unity on Monday and said he stands with Clinton, but he also said he looked forward to the 1,846 delegates pledged to him casting their vote.

Brian Ertz of Idaho, one of the demonstrators in the media tent, said the demonstrators in the press centre had had their voices squelched.

"We want our democratic sentiment to be expressed," Ertz said, adding that the purpose of the Democratic Convention is to debate and deliberate ideas that come from all over the country.

Ertz was outside the media centre with dozens of Sanders supporters who had been blocked entry to the tent. They showed their discontent by chanting "the world is watching."

He said there had been no discussion on the floor of topics that Sanders supporters care most deeply about, including reforming campaign financing, an increase in the minimum wage, debt-free college education and environmental protections.

"If they wanted unity, then they would have engaged in authentic democratic process to achieve that," he said.

The evening's programme was scheduled to end with a speech by Bill Clinton, who will become the first first gentleman to occupy the White House. Clinton, who has spoken at every Democratic Party convention since 1988, for the first time will speak in favour of his spouse following in his footsteps.

Clinton, who remains beloved among Democrats despite his sex scandal-tainted presidency, is expected to talk about his wife's accomplishments in her early years in politics dating back to the time when he was governor of Arkansas.

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