After an often-bitter election campaign against incumbent Donald Trump, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. finally was projected to win the presidency on November 7, 2020.
It's been a long road for the former vice president and senator from Delaware — a roller-coaster journey of public service that includes both triumphs and crushing losses, both personal and professional.
Here's a crash course on the man America has elected as its 46th president.
Joseph Robinette Biden is seen here at age 10. He was born in 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The family later moved to Wilmington, Delaware.
A graduate of the University of Delaware (history and political science) and Syracuse University (law degree), Biden was serving as a county councilman in Delaware when he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972 at age 29.
Shortly after his election, his wife Neilia and infant daughter Naomi were killed in a car accident that also injured their two young sons. Here, Biden is photographed with his sons Hunter, left, and Beau, around 1972.
On January 5, 1973, Biden was sworn in as the U.S. senator from Delaware at the bedside of his son Beau at a Wilmington hospital. Beau was injured in the car accident that killed his mother and sister a month before. Mrs. Biden's father, Robert Hunter, holds the Bible.
Rising in the 1970s
In this photo from the White House and released by Biden's office, Senator Joe Biden meets with President Jimmy Carter in Washington. President Carter signed the photo to Biden.
Biden married Jill Jacobs, a teacher, in 1977. They had a daughter, Ashley.
Man of faith
Biden is a practicing Roman Catholic, and, along with wife Jill, has frequently attended Mass at St. Joseph's on the Brandywine in Greenville, Delaware.
Here, Biden places his hand on the Biden family bible as he takes the oath of office for a second term as as vice president on January 20, 2013. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor swore him in as his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, held the bible.
Biden has called his mother, Jean, the "center of our family." Jean Biden died in 2010. In this 2008 photo, she is seen kissing her son while his wife Jill looks on.
A political mixed bag
In the mid-1970s, Biden saw himself as conservative on some issues, such as abortion, but liberal on others, such as civil rights.
"I don't think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body," he said in 1974.
Here, Biden shakes hands with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat on March 27, 1979, as Senator Frank Church, D-Idaho, center, watches in Washington.
Biden and his wife Jill greet Pope John Paul II at the Vatican around 1980.
The working-class-raised Irish Catholic Biden would eventually change his position on abortion issues; Biden now supports abortion rights.
Biden had three children with his first wife, Neilia, and a daughter, Ashley, with his second wife, Jill. Here he sits with his daughter Ashley in his Senate office in Washington on July 22, 1983.
No stranger to presidential ambition
Biden stands on stage with his wife Jill and sons, Hunter, left, and Beau, along with his father, Joe Biden Sr., during a campaign event. Biden made his first run for the presidency in 1987. Newspaper reports accused Biden of plagiarizing and exaggerating his accomplishments during his college years, and he dropped out of the race that same year.
Here, Senator Joe Biden shares a moment with his granddaughter, Naomi, 10, during a "Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" event on Capitol Hill on April 22, 2004.
Biden has seven grandchildren.
Time in committee
Biden first became the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1981. By 1991, he was four years into the chairmanship, presiding over oftentimes heated nomination hearings for Supreme Court justices. Here he is photographed with Senator Edward Kennedy, angrily pointing at Clarence Thomas during the controversial hearings for Thomas' nomination in 1991.
Women's advocate, at times
Here, Senator Barbara Boxer, D-California, and Senator Joe Biden appear at a news conference on Capitol Hill in 1993 to discuss the Violence Against Women Act.
At the time, the National Organization for Women called the bill "the greatest breakthrough in civil rights for women in nearly two decades." Signed by President Clinton, the law was later reauthorized and signed by President George W. Bush.
When President Bill Clinton faced impeachment in 1999, Senator Joe Biden voted for acquittal.
Here, Senator Biden, lower right, sits on Air Force One with President Clinton en route to Bosnia on December 22, 1997.
"Get tough" approach
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, looks on as the committee's ranking Democrat, Senator Joseph Biden, speaks on Capitol Hill in 1999 to discuss youth violence. The two joined forces to pass the Violent and Repeat Juvenile Offender Accountability and Rehabilitation Act of 1999.
In 2000, Democratic presidential hopeful Vice President Al Gore talks with Senator Joseph Biden at the Gores' residence in Washington, D.C.
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Biden supported military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Here, Senator Joseph Biden and Republican Congressman Henry Hyde discuss the war on terrorism and homeland defense on September 30, 2001 on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Cancer care bill
Here, Senator Joe Biden and cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong appear a news conference in 2002 to announce a bill designed to improve care for cancer patients.
More advocacy for women
Vietnam war survivor Kim Phuc, captured in a 1972 Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a naked girl running down a road screaming in pain after a napalm attack, shows her scars to Senator Biden during a Capitol Hill news conference in 2003.
Biden called for passage of the Women and Children in Conflict Protection Act, but the bill did not advance in the then-Republican-controlled Senate.
Senator Biden holds a product containing the steroid androstenedione, while Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, looks on, March 11, 2004 in Washington, D.C. Federal regulators were demanding that companies cease distributing products, sold as dietary supplements, that contain the steroid.
Less contentious days
Here, Senator Joseph Biden and Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, attend a roast in 2004 in Washington, D.C.
In the 2020 campaign, Graham became a vocal supporter of President Trump.
Foreign relations committee
Senator Joe Biden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, talks to Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice, as then-Senator Barack Obama looks on, at the end of Rice's two-day confirmation hearing on January 19, 2005. The committee voted 16-2 to recommend Rice for the position of Secretary of State in the Bush administration. Biden broke ranks with some Democrats and supported her confirmation.
In this 2005 photo, Senator Joseph Biden speaks with fellow Democratic Senator Barack Obama during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
Mulling Supreme Court nominees
Senator Joe Biden questions U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee John Roberts during confirmation hearings on September 13, 2005 in Washington, D.C.
Biden later voted against the appointment, but Roberts was confirmed.
Opposing another nominee
Here, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, left, meets with Senator Joe Biden in his office on Capitol Hill November 16, 2005. Biden voted against Alito, though he was later confirmed.
Meeting the press
Biden has been a frequent guest on political news shows. Here, he appears with Republican Senator John Warner of Virginia on NBC's "Meet the Press" in 2005 to discuss the war in Iraq.
Senator Biden In Kabul
Biden served on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, chairing it twice, from June 2001 to 2003 and again from 2007 to 2009.
Here, Senator Biden meets a female student at Ariana High School in Kabul, Afghanistan, during a visit on January 12, 2002.
Biden would later come to regret his support of the post-9/11 invasion of Iraq. Here, he speaks on U.S. policy in Iraq at the Brookings Institution in Washington on June 21, 2005.
Holding the White House accountable
Here, Senator Joe Biden questions Attorney General Alberto Gonzales during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on February 6, 2006.
The committee heard testimony on wartime executive power and the National Security Agency's secret domestic surveillance program.
Iraq war difficulties
Though he had become a critic of the war in Iraq, Biden was loath to advocate a withdrawal.
Here, Biden and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, speak with reporters about the Iraq Study Group report on December 6, 2006 in Washington, D.C.
Another shot at the White House
Biden announced his second bid for the White House in 2007. He cited his record as a leader of Senate committees and his foreign-policy experience.
Here, he serves soup while campaigning at the Story County Democrats Soup Supper on February 16, 2007 in Ames, Iowa.
A major debate
In 2007, Biden faced off in a Democratic primary debate with Senator Barack Obama Senator Chris Dodd, Senator John Edwards, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Governor Bill Richardson and Senator Hillary Clinton.
Questions on Iraq
Iraq loomed large during that debate. Of that ongoing war, Biden said, "Are we going to be able to leave Iraq ... and leave behind something other than chaos?"
A classic campaign stop
Here, Biden makes a 2007 presidential campaign stop at the Iowa State Fair. After placing fifth in the Iowa caucus, Biden dropped out of the race.
Historic running mate
After Barack Obama sealed his party's nomination for president, making history in the process, he selected Biden as his running mate.
"It's not political sloganeering when I say we literally can't afford four more years of this non-energy policy written by and for the oil companies, making us more and more dependent from hostile nations on our ability to run this country and literally, not figuratively, literally putting America's security at risk," Biden told the crowd at the first Obama-Biden rally on August 24, 2008.
A good match
At the time, the Delaware senator was credited for bringing a wealth of foreign policy experience to Obama's team, plus knowledge of the ways of Washington and an infectious enthusiasm for politics.
Here, Biden's older son, Delaware Attorney General Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, speaks at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
Beau died of brain cancer in 2015.
Here, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden wave to supporters after Obama delivered his victory speech at his election night party at Grant Park, in Chicago, in 2008.
As vice president, Biden continued his involvement in U.S policy toward Iraq and Afghanistan. Here, Biden is welcomed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai he arrives at for a two-day visit in Kabul on January 11, 2011.
Meeting with foreign leaders
Here, Vice President Joseph Biden welcomes Chinese President Hu Jintao at an arrival ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on January 18, 2011.
As vice president, Biden was valued as being the opposite of a "yes man" to President Obama.
Biden "is always prepared to be the skunk at the family picnic to make sure we are as intellectually honest as possible," said one senior aide in 2009.
Foreign travel with family
Here, Vice President Joe Biden waves with his granddaughter, Naomi Biden, as they walk out from Air Force Two upon arrival at the Beijing Capital International Airport on August 17, 2011.
Biden arrived for a five-day visit in China under a cloud of criticism over the U.S. debt.
Biden and Obama ran for reelection in 2012 and won.
Here, Senate pages carry bound wooden boxes containing the Electoral College votes from the 50 states into the House of Representatives chamber on January 4, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Gun safety task force
During his service as vice president, Biden was appointed by President Obama to oversee a task force on gun violence.
Here, Vice President Joe Biden speaks press at the beginning of a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, gun violence survivors, victims and advocacy groups in Washington, D.C.
A boss and a friend
Obama and Biden were known for their yin-yang personalities — and for their friendship. Their ties extended to Obama's daughter Sasha and Biden's granddaughter Maisy, who both attended Sidwell Friends School.
A "charm monster"
During an appearance on "Late Night With Seth Meyers" in 2014, actress Amy Poehler called fellow guest Biden a "gorgeous charm monster."
A dog lover
The Bidens have two German shepherds named Champ and Major. They adopted Major from the Delaware Humane Association, an animal shelter in Wilmington, in 2018.
A champion for green jobs
Here, Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks after receiving the Green Jobs Champion Award during the Good Jobs Green Jobs National Conference in Washington on April 13, 2015.
Sponsored by a varied coalition of labor, industry and telecommunications leaders, the conference promoted the use of efficient and renewable energy and cooperation in updating the country's energy infrastructure.
In a development that surprised Biden, President Obama presented him with the Medal of Freedom in January 2017, as their two terms in office neared an end.
Biden had opted not to run for president in 2016, following the death of his son Beau to cancer the year before.
Coming around again
By 2019, Biden was ready to try for the White House again.
Here, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden takes photos with people in the crowd at a May 4, 2019 campaign event in Columbia, South Carolina.
Another historic moment
After sealing his party's nomination, Biden chose former rival Senator Kamala Harris of California as his vice presidential running mate. She became the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be a nominee on a presidential ticket by a major party in U.S. history.
The first presidential debate between Biden and President Donald Trump was a heated one.
"Will you shut up, man?" an exasperated Biden said. "It's hard to get any word in with this clown."
After four days of counting the high volume of mail-in ballots in key battleground states, the race was called for Biden. In his victory speech, he called for unity and healing.
"I sought this office to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class, to make America respected around the world again, and to unite us here at home," Biden said.
"This is the United States of America, and there has never been anything we've not been able to do when we've done it together."