I was under the impression that a live axle powered the wheels and a dead axle only supported the wheels. On a rear wheel drive the rear axle is live and the front dead. On a front wheel drive, vice versa.
The term "live axle" refers to an axle where the hubs are connected by a solid beam with no relative articulation between them.
A live axle can be either driven or non-driven but also steering or non-steering.
On the Trads we have a driven live axle at the rear with independent non-driven axles at the front.
In the early days of cars and up to later on trucks, live non-driven steering axles were used on the front before the changes to independent suspension.
Modern cars all use independent suspension all round whether it's driven or non-driven.