Antebellum is a Latin word that means “before the war.”
Antebellum is a Latin word that means “before the war.” In American history, the antebellum period refers to the years after the War of 1812 (1812–15) and before the Civil War (1861–65). The development of separate northern and southern economies, westward expansion of the nation, and a spirit of reform marked the era.
The Antebellum South (also known as the antebellum era or plantation era) was a period in the history of the Southern United States from the late 18th century until the start of the American Civil War in 1861. This period in the South's history was marked by the economic growth of the region, largely due to its heavy reliance on slavery, and of its political influence on the U.S. federal government. It was also characterized by the rise of abolition and the gradual polarization of the country between abolitionists and supporters of slavery.
Enslaved Africans were brought to the South early in its history during the colonial period due to the demand for free labor for the harvesting of crops. It would persist through the 17th and 18th centuries but it was not until the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in the 1790s that slavery grew very profitable and that the large plantation system developed. In the decade and half between the invention of the Gin and the passage of the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves, an enormous increase in the slave trade occurred, furthering the slave system in the United States.