I have been wondering on and off about Harry Turtledove's How Few Remain/TL-191 universe.

The TL works up until the alternative Franco-Prussian war expy, the Second Mexican-American War. Why would Britain and France still back the C. S. A. , when by 1881, the U. S. A. was nearly a match, industrially to Great Britain. I can't see a United States that was humiliated by the C. S. A. letting their Army and Navy decay. With a hostile neighbor on the U. S. A.'s southern and western border, the U. S. Army would be far larger, and the Navy would be kept up well. I am not sure James Blaine would be president, either.
 
The TL works up until the alternative Franco-Prussian war expy, the Second Mexican-American War. Why would Britain and France still back the C. S. A. , when by 1881, the U. S. A. was nearly a match, industrially to Great Britain. I can't see a United States that was humiliated by the C. S. A. letting their Army and Navy decay. With a hostile neighbor on the U. S. A.'s southern and western border, the U. S. Army would be far larger, and the Navy would be kept up well. I am not sure James Blaine would be president, either.
It's explained in the series that after the CSA seceded from the USA, the US couldn't pay back it's loans, so confidence in the New York Stock Exchange tanked, exacerbated by the distance between the East and West Coasts, which were eventually bridged by the Transcontinental Railroad. Just a reminder that the USA could not buy Alaska from the Russians, because of the $7 million price tag. That was how poor the USA was in the 1860s.

Also, it is established that the Democrats tried to play nice with the Confederate States between 1862 and 1881, so that could explain why the Army and Navy were left to decay, much like how the Socialists let the Army and Navy decay during the Blackford administration in American Empire. Also, the USA didn't just lose the Second-Mexican War because of the state of their army. They lost that war because they had learned nothing from the defeat in 1862. Incompetent officers (looking at you, Rosecrans) ran the country's war effort, there was no detailed plans for winning the war and the USA essentially used the same tactics they had used during the War of Secession.
 
Besides, Turtledove isn't a "hard" alternate history author and never was. Just because the parallelism and contrivances aren't as bad as they are in the later installments doesn't mean they aren't there.
 
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