As the drama fades away, it's perhaps time to reflect on a momentous night and try to work out what it all means both for America and the rest of the world.
As Barack Obama wakes up this morning he will know the heavy burden that rests on his shoulders. If he gets it wrong, he will have let down not only African Americans but all those across the political spectrum who lent him their support. In short, he needs to be a Ronald Reagan, not a Jimmy Carter. He will look at his 'to do' list and shudder. He takes over the Presidency at an incredibly difficult time, of economic and military crisis. He is neither an economist nor a military specialist and will therefore be relying on advisers in the same way that George W Bush had to in 2000. Bush appointed a top level Cabinet team - possibly the strongest Cabinet lineup in US history. But even that prevent some calamitous decisions. So the world will be watching to see what kind of Cabinet Obama appoints. I expect to see a few Republican names included as he reaches across the political divide.
A lot of Democrats will be expecting radical things from President Obama. I suspect they will be disappointed, at least initially. He may have campaigned on the slogan of 'change' but I suspect he will be far more conservative that many of his most enthusiastic supporters expect. He won't want to rock the boat too much until he has proved his competence to the nation. There may be one or two headline announcements in the first 100 days, but from a military point of view I am not sure much will change initially.
But it is not only his fellow Americans who are expecting great things from Obama - so is the world. I suspect the world is going to be very disappointed by the gradual pace of change. Obama may enter into talks which his predecessor would have baulked at, but if America's enemies think he will be a soft touch, I think they will be mistaken. I expect him to adopt a very tough line against Iran, which is at the root of most of the evil in the Middle East.
Domestically, the economic challenges the Obama Presidency faces are massive. His economic legacy is arguable worse than the one inherited by President Reagan in 1981. And his room for manoeuvre will be limited.
The speeches given last night by McCain and Obama were a mark of both men. Both struck exactly the right note and American can justifiably be proud of the two candidates who fought it out for the most powerful political job in the world. McCain was gracious in defeat and clearly understood the significance of his rival's triumph. Obama was visionary and inspirational.
America and the world expect a lot of Barack Obama. He has been a lucky politician, as well as a skilful one. His luck will need to hold if he is to take his country with him over the next four years. It's going to be one hell of a show.
UPDATE: Watching Gordon Brown's reaction to Obama's victory you'd have thought he was expressing condolences. I can't believe how downbeat he was. Cameron, on the other hand, struck exactly the right tone.