Here you are quite misguided, my dear fellow. You will recall that the American version of the song ends thusly:
Now I know my ABC
I’m as happy as can be.
You will note that this creates an impactful four-part rhyme with “vee”, the abominable “zee”, another “see”, and the final “be”. It also strongly implies that a child’s feeling of happiness and well-being is directly related to knowledge of her ABCs and the rhymes therein. The obvious implication is that individual happiness is the ultimate goal, and that with a little learning and determination, success is inevitable in the Land of Opportunity.
The American “zee” thus represents a staked-out position in what is essentially an ideological conflict between the individualistic nature of American capitalism versus the British so-called “post-war consensus” driving a national sense of general societal welfare after the devastation of war – the kind of sea change that led to the creation of transformative institutions like the National Health Service.
I’m currently writing a book on this subject and anyone who feels the need to support me can feel free to send me money, the more the better. The more money I get, the more thinking I can do.