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He masterminded a five-month strike ensuring that the increase in wages gained during World War I would not be lost. In 1907 he ran for mayor of Lucas and launched a feed-and-grain distributorship. A typical Lewis speech to operators would go "Gentlemen I speak to you for the miners' families.
A leading liberal he played a major role in helping Franklin D. A major player in the history of coal mining he was the driving force behind the founding of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) which establiJohn L. Lewisd the United Steel Workers of America and helped organize millions of other industrial workers in the 1930s. His massive leonine head forest-like eyebrows firmly set jaw powerful voice and ever-present scowl thrilled his supporters angered his enemies and delighted cartoonists.