This essay prompt/rubric doesn't completely fit with typical essays using the APUSH format. Therefore, it is a "modified" DBQ. However, it uses many of the same ideas and is based on topics covered in an APUSH class.
Prompt: Despite sectional tensions between the North, South, and West, to what extent did the “United” States have a national identity prior to 1848 AND could compromises on the issues of race, class, gender, religion, ethnicity, or culture help avoid the Civil War or was it inevitable?
The tasks ask the students to write a good thesis statement, identify and support whether the U.S. had a national identity, consider areas of conflict and whether or not compromise could be reached, and use primary sources within four analysis categories, while writing a coherent essay from the study time period.
This word document is customizable so that you can make it work in your APUSH classroom, whether that means changing the prompt or not, adding your own sources, instructions, etc.
For the students, the prompt and rubric act like a checklist. It helps them to be sure they get all the required components into the essay as they write it.
For you, grading is easier because it helps to narrow the requirements of the essay to small, easily compressed categories.