Definition: the period before a war, as opposed to after it; the period before the American Civil War

This literally means “before war” in Latin. It’s most often used to discuss the period of Southern life prior to the American Civil War.

Less known is the antonym “postbellum,” which means the period after a war.

Why I Looked It Up

I saw a reference to “postbellum,” and that got me wondering what “antebellum” actually meant. I vaguely knew it somehow referred to the southern states in the 1800s, but wasn’t sure why.

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