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Antebellum is a Latin term that means before war. Students in the late 1800s would know immediately that antebellum referred to the tumultuous time before the Civil War. All other wars in America pale in comparison to the Civil War. No war, before or since, has cost as many American lives and caused as much destruction of American property. This unit is about the events leading to this crucial event. The Civil War developed because America failed to resolve two crucial questions. The first question was how to believe that all men are created equal and have certain inalienable rights, at the same time that Americans legally recognized slavery. The second question was what limits existed to the rights of states in the Union. Could a state legally vote to void a federal law that the state felt violated its rights? Could a state choose to leave the Union?